New Perspectives- People are in Control of Their Own Health

UMR Student Writer Brittlyn OlsonGuest Post by University of Minnesota, Rochester Student Brittlyn Olson



Laura Adams, Transform Symposium 2012 SpeakerThe current health care system is the #1 contributor to sickness and death in the United States. Although this seems outrageous, Laura Adams, President and CEO of Rhode Island Quality Institute can understand this reality. Based on her own personal struggles as both a clinician and patient, Adams has generated a transformation in health care. Her unique approach has opened the eyes of the health care system to a new era.

Early on, as a clinician, Laura provided incorrect dosage of a medication to a patient, which could have ended in death. After evaluating the cause of the scenario, she determined that there was lack of communication within the system and ineffective means of information exchange. Of the 2.6 trillion dollars spent annually, 1.2 trillion is wastefully spent on unnecessary hospitalizations and medical/surgical procedures. Laura felt guilty for this and felt it was a problem that must be corrected.

Some years back, Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through appointments and procedures, she recognized the main problem with health care as ineffective communication between providers and patients. With all of Laura’s treatments and surgeries, she had a plethora of information on her records. The responsibility of a patient drew her attention. This included transferring an MRI disc from her clinic to the hospital on her own; her advance directives were left for her to take care of, and not to mention that she received absolutely no news on her diagnosis for three weeks. As a patient, she was overwhelmed with emotion already, and now all of the responsibility that came along with being a patient. Laura has been able to uniquely use her qualities as a clinician, and experiences as a patient to improve the health care system.

Laura Adams speaking at Transform

Click on photo to hear Laura Adams speak at Transform

Laura has since made improvements to the health care system in Rhode Island. She believes that people are in control of their own health. Updates should be given to the patient as soon as information has been gathered. Charts should be electronically filed and double or even triple checked for accuracy. All of this quality service will allow the country as a whole to spend more of the annual investment on research and the health of patients rather than unnecessary medical and surgical procedures. The improvement achieved by Laura’s innovative approach, drastically changed and positively impacted the Rhode Island Quality Institute.