Caring for the Elderly: Does Status Quo Need to Go?

NOVEMBER 16, 2011
I heard a really great speaker at the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists annual meeting in Phoenix yesterday—Bill Thomas, MD, president of the Center for Growing and Becoming, and an international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare. His keynote address, “New Directions-Real Solutions: What Do Today’s Seniors Want from Health Care and Consultant Pharmacy?” provided a number of great insights about caring for the elderly. He stated that the only thing we know about the future of the US health care system that the system can’t stay the same.

That’s really a profound statement if it is true, because it goes against the way most of us working within the system act. We spend most of our time focused on maintaining and improving what is—rather than focusing on what comes next. Of course, no one really knows what comes next unless we invent it. By maintaining and improving what we have, we have no time to invent what comes next. Maybe that’s why innovations come from outsiders rather than those in the mainstream.

Dr. Thomas said that in order to invent what comes next we have to be an “agent of imagination.” In my opinion, that’s the same thing as being able to think outside of the box. Could it be that our future success will only be bright if we use imagination instead of preserving the status quo? What do you think?

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