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Priselac Speaks About Healthcare Change to Civic Group

Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO

Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO, visited a major Los Angeles civic organization recently and offered a glimpse of how he sees the healthcare industry evolving. Priselac spoke about rapidly advancing medical care driven by research discoveries and digital innovations, many of which already are reshaping patient care and the healthcare landscape.

Reflecting on work going on at Cedars-Sinai, Priselac told the luncheon sponsored by Town Hall of Los Angeles that breakthroughs within nanotechnology, precision medicine and regenerative medicine offer unprecedented hope for improving standards of medical care and enhancing quality of life in the coming years.

"A real challenge for those leading and working in healthcare is prioritizing and managing the volume of change that is currently going on," Priselac said during his hourlong presentation on Nov. 29. "But there is no doubt it will make American healthcare more efficient and of a higher quality."

Priselac said that progress has been fueled by the rapid development in understanding the human genome. Significant advancements are leading to new treatments that can harvest stem cells to regrow damaged tissue in multiple organs, identify blood protein markers to flag potential medical problems, and develop tools to boost the body's immune system against cancer, he said.

These research developments coincide with the rise of digital and mobile technologies that already have produced the electronic medical record and patient-friendly mobile applications like CS-Link™. The collection, storage and relatively easy retrieval of medical data has been transformative for physicians and especially for patients.

"Patients can now use this information in a way that is meaningful to them," Priselac said. "We are moving to a more customer-centered care model. It's here today and it's here to stay."

Within the next several years, digital technologies will help dramatically improve the management of chronic diseases, which are becoming increasingly common, Priselac said. Remote monitoring will aid in better tracking of patients and even help to ensure that they take their medications. The data will lead to earlier interventions if problems are detected, averting unnecessary hospitalizations.

During a question-and-answer session, Priselac was asked about rising healthcare costs in the U.S. and how they compare to the situation in leading European countries. Each national system properly reflects its own culture and economy, said Priselac, who has closely studied healthcare policy in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Priselac noted one key difference: American expectations for healthcare.

"In places like Germany, broadly speaking, people don't expect to get a titanium hip so they can keep playing tennis when they are 95," Priselac said.

When asked about the recent national election and its impact on healthcare, Priselac acknowledged change is ahead, but perhaps not as dramatic as some speculate.

"What won't change is the need to make healthcare more uniformly high quality and to make it as affordable as it can possibly be," he said. "So how one administration may go about that may differ, but the goals will be the same."