Dr. Sachin Jain: It's time to end 'magical thinking' in healthcare

Wishful thinking about the impact of technology in healthcare and unrealistic beliefs that valuations can increase forever have slowed the industry's transformation for the better, according to Sachin Jain, MD.

Dr. Jain is the president and CEO of SCAN Group, a Medicare company serving about 283,000 members. In a deal announced Dec. 14, SCAN Group will be renamed HealthRight Group in 2023 after it combines with Medicaid managed care company CareOregon, which Dr. Jain will continue to lead. 

In his Jan. 20 op-ed in Forbes, he wrote that venture capital funding has become scarce, and the dream of big tech fixing healthcare has never materialized.

"I’m hoping that the end of easy money and magical thinking in healthcare will bring with it a return to old-school wisdom that the industry in recent years lost sight of," he wrote.

Dr. Jain offered five pieces of advice:

  1. Walk the talk: Healthcare must put patients before profits, or at least value them equally. In that vein, tone down the exaggerated rhetoric around value-based care, "which cannot and should not be used as shorthand for doing the right thing."

  2. Industry accountability: Healthcare leaders often speak in unrealistic, aspirational language, but remaining grounded in reality is crucial. Some companies overstate their impact, and the industry must hold them accountable by showing proof of results.

  3. Change is hard: There will be no easy fix or one answer to solve the problems facing a complex industry, and more self-reflection is needed on that.

  4. Media responsibility: Healthcare media needs to focus more on patient impact coverage over venture capital announcements — and readers need to stop promoting that coverage by clicking on it.

  5. Accountable leadership: Leaders must be accountable to their employees and boards of directors in a humble and transparent manner, even if it goes against their self-interest.

Read a recent Becker's interview with Dr. Jain here.

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