Podcast – An Interview with Dr. George Isham

Podcast Banner George Isham

George Isham, MD, Chief Health Officer of HealthPartners, a nonprofit health provider that covers more than 1.5 million lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin, joins Samueli Institute President and CEO Wayne Jonas, MD, this week for a podcast interview on the future of healthcare.

Clinical Care Accounts for Only 20% of Health

In a 20 minute interview, Isham and Jonas discuss the groundbreaking work of Dr. David Kindig, who argued that clinical care is responsible for as little as 20 percent of overall health. The vast majority of factors influencing health, he said, come from social determinants, such as socioeconomic factors, the environment, and the health behaviors of individuals.

It is through this lens of the importance of what happens outside the doctor’s office that Jonas and Isham consider the future of care and wrestle with real world questions of promoting health within a system that reimburses prescriptions, procedures and clinical treatments.

“If you change the way that people are paid such that you reward the outcomes, then doctors are free to figure out based upon good science what works and what they should begin to do,” explained Isham.

“This will increase satisfaction not just in patients, but in clinicians as well. People are highly motivated when you have a mission that is larger than self. That’s why doctors went to medical school and why nurses trained to be nurses.