Winter 2021 | Volume 10 | Number 1
In Every Issue
Feature Articles
In Upcoming Issues
One Antidote, Once a Day 
Life-Saving Leadership in the Fight Against COVID-19
Portraits of Progress for Firms in the Pandemic: MD Clone
Quick Links
Editor's Letter
Happy New Year!  

I hope all enjoyed some cheer over the holiday season. As we begin 2021, with two vaccines approved, more in the pipeline, and increased knowledge gained about the novel coronavirus (which has enabled better management of and lower mortality rates for inpatients suffering from COVID-19), there are lights at the end of a long, dark tunnel. There is also renewed hope for a better and more equitable world as we evolve globally to a “new normal.” 

The pandemic has taken much from us in ways that are unique to each person’s experience.  But we have simultaneously been given the opportunity to hit a reset button and commit anew to passionately addressing the many challenges which lie ahead, some created by COVID-19 and many of which have been with us for far too long. We have also learned in ways both small and large how many heroes live among us each and every day.

Finally, the novel coronavirus has reaffirmed the wisdom of the Golden Rule – Treat others as you would have them treat you – and its criticality to the healthy survival of the planet, those who currently inhabit it, and the generations yet to come.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
~ E.M. Forster

Managing Editor
Contact Colette at:

In Every Issue
The President's Desk
Contributor: Maria Whitman, WG’05

2020 has thus far tested the very fabric of our world: personally, professionally, societally, globally. It is an under-statement to say that it has been a hard year for many – in fact, for many it has been life changing. We have experienced an unprecedented global pandemic, economic and health uncertainty, and a global demonstration spurred by the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others to combat systemic issues of racism and inequality. Unequivocally, Black Lives Matter; these individuals matter. 

These events have exposed deep cracks in aspects of our society that we as individuals, as humans, cannot ignore. They have also started to unite us together in the call to action, and in doing so we stand on a real opportunity for change. But that change requires ongoing commitment to action and real advancement of the issues before us. 

The WHCMAA Board has been working diligently to prioritize and drive action and connection in areas of greatest need in these recent months and will continue to do so in service to this mission and our role as leaders in global health. Read more.
The Philosopher’s Corner
This eclectic standing column features insightful musings, words of wisdom, life lessons, and stepping stones to business success. This month's philosopher is Laura Brady Saade, WG’93, Director of Strategic Planning in the Department of Neurology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Read more.
Affidavit: Healthcare and the Law - CMS and ONC Release Long Awaited Final Rules on Interoperability   

On March 9, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released two highly anticipated final rules, which will significantly impact actors in the health information technology (health IT) universe in the coming months.  The separate but related rules governing interoperability were released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  

Both rules, which follow proposed rules published in February 2019, address interoperability, information blocking, use of application programming interfaces (APIs), and other topics related to health IT. Although initial enforcement of the rules’ requirements has been temporarily delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, stakeholders in the health IT industry are already grappling with the implications. Read more.
Not a Freudian Slip: CBD and Mental Health - Therapeutic Magic or Myth? Part 2
Contributor: Connie Mester, MPH

There has been tremendous hype about cannabidiol (CBD), with some claiming it is a miracle cure while others remain skeptical of its true medical value. Part 1 summarized the historical journey and recent market growth of this polarizing topic before concluding with a brief snapshot of the evidence of positive health impact across mental and behavioral health conditions.  

Part 2 sheds light on potential risks and ways to decipher misleading marketing claims to identify quality, reputable sellers among the multitude of product options. As misinformation and anecdotal testimonies are replaced with scientific evidence and truth around historical events, CBD will be more accepted in mainstream medicine and has the potential to positively impact mental health conditions. Read more.
Downloading Success: The Evolving Role of Healthcare Chief Diversity Officer
Contributor: Lisa DeSimone Arthur

As awareness grows across the U.S. of the pervasive social injustices and inequities that impact communities of color, the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) has become a crucial leader in hospitals and healthcare systems. CDOs have been charged with creating diverse and inclusive environments for staff and patients.

In the wake of Covid-19, renewed attention has been focused on chronic illness and the social determinants of health. CDOs are at the forefront of addressing these healthcare disparities; their efforts are focused on developing strategies which will close the gap on health inequities at their organizations and in their communities. Read more.
To Your Health: Lost or Gained? Fitness During a Pandemic

Most of us remember where we were the day the pandemic took over our lives.  Suddenly countless unknowns appeared all at once.  Our work, family, children, travel, and health were all in question. At some point, you made a choice. Besides the decision about food, shopping, alcohol or take-out, you tried to figure out how to move, how to get active, how to break a sweat.  

The sales of Peloton, hand weights, and TRX tell the story.  Despite being backordered for weeks, people were itching to get their exercise at home while gyms were closed and working with a personal trainer was forbidden.  But sadly, for others, they stalled right in place.  Just today my colleague relayed a story that her guest said, “Once the gym closed, I was lost.”
CyberVitals: Keeping Cybersecurity on the Board Agenda
Contributor: Vidya Murthy, WEMBA’42 

You are likely well aware that cyber risk directly correlates to an increase in digital footprint. Independent of the rapid digitalization that healthcare has undergone through the pandemic, it is important the cyber risk be sufficiently understood and discussed as you kick off board meetings in 2021.

Time to identify and contain a breach averaged 329 days in healthcare, which is 49 days longer than the average, per IBM’s annual data breach report for 2020. The report further outlines that the average cost of responding to a breach is $3.86 million, while healthcare, for the tenth year in a row, was the highest industry, with an average cost of $7.13 million. This is a 10.5% increase over the year prior, while 13 of 17 industries assessed experienced an average total cost decline. 

With statistics like these, it’s hard to imagine a board meeting discussing anything BUT cybersecurity related risk. But we all know that’s not the case. Read more.
Feature Articles
Code Blue: Racial Justice in the Corporate Workplace 

Code Blue in a hospital setting means a medical emergency, usually related to a patient in cardiac or respiratory arrest. Upon calling a code, a multidisciplinary clinical team goes into action to save the patient’s life.

8 minutes, 46 seconds….the time it took for the life of George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis, to drain from his body under the knee of a white police officer on his neck. It happened in full and brazen view for the entire world to see and clearly without fear of retribution.

In 2020, George Floyd’s death was our Code Blue.

George Floyd never even had the opportunity for an actual Code Blue to be called on his behalf. Therefore, it is even more critical and incumbent on us to pursue transformational change. We cannot afford reflexive, “in-the-moment,” cosmetic micro-incrementalism parading as progress.

Racial injustice happens both on our streets for public viewing as well as behind closed doors – in workplaces, healthcare settings, and the legal system, to name a few. It’s time to take real action. So where do we start now that the code has been called and the team has arrived? One important and far-reaching opportunity is in the corporate workplace. Read more.
Gratitude: Resilience and Healing for Clinicians During a COVID-19 Pandemic
Contributor: Linda Roszak Burton

No one is immune to trauma, grief, pain and human suffering brought on by COVID-19, especially physicians, nurses, and other clinicians. The pandemic has ushered in higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for physicians and nurses who were already experiencing epidemic levels of burnout.

The practice of gratitude can serve as a balm to emotional distress as well as a protective bulwark against the potential long-term repercussions of the range of feelings triggered by COVID-19 for those infected by the novel coronavirus and those caring for patients who have been described as among the sickest clinicians have ever seen. Read more
Opportunities Within “Adaptive Recovery”

Juliet Kayyem, a national expert on international security at the Harvard Business School, has described the stages of crisis management during the COVID-19 pandemic and coined the term “adaptive recovery” to describe the long, slow stage we find ourselves in today, with an unknown endpoint post-vaccine. It rightfully suggests that we will not find ourselves in a new normal at that point, but in a true new future state.

At its best, the unstable status creates a longer-term space for learning from the innovations that have been put in place to address the peak of the crisis and the infrastructure for new ways of working that would have taken years to build. At its worst, adaptive recovery makes necessary multi-year planning feel superfluous and stymies linear processes. Read more.
Is it Time for a New Narrative in Healthcare?
Contributor: Ruchin Kansal

The potential of technology to improve access and quality and reduce the cost of healthcare is evident. However, the narrative has been centered around themes such as business model disruption, lack of willingness to embrace the new, and us versus them. In the process, we have made the healthcare institutions the evil guys, who don’t get it and will disappear from planet earth because “they don’t get it.” The result – digital health remains a utopian concept, despite the narrative that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology by at least a decade. 

However, could it be that the incumbent healthcare industry is slow and maybe even deliberate in adopting technology and you and I as consumers of healthcare might have something to do with that? Read more.
Now It’s Personal: How Precision Behavioral Tools Could Dramatically Improve Healthcare Outcomes 

70% of annual deaths and 75% of the U.S. healthcare expenditures are due to chronic diseases, conditions mostly preventable by employing better nutrition, sleep, and exercise habits, and stress management. A paradigm shift is required: how can we create better outcomes while reducing healthcare costs?

Prevention has a unique trait: instead of a one-time intensive treatment, it is the addition of small decisions made on a day-to-day basis, while healthy, that determine long-term health. The most influential of those decisions is what you eat. For personalized nutrition to work, it has to take into account not only clinical factors such as bloodwork, symptoms, etc., but also psychological factors such as personality, environment, motivations, and goals. Read more.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within are those of the authors and editors of the articles and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of the Wharton School and/or the University of Pennsylvania, and/or their respective organizations. Publication in this e-magazine should not be considered an endorsement. The Wharton Healthcare Quarterly and WHCMAA make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this e-magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.