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Tag: Seseable Lab

Revisualizing and Recoding Healthcare

BY KIM BELLARD

Two new books have me thinking about healthcare, although neither is about healthcare and, I must admit, neither of which I’ve yet read. But both appear to be full of ideas that strike me as directly relevant to the mess we call our healthcare system.  

The books are Atlas of the Senseable City, by Antoine Picon and Carlo Ratti, and Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better, by Jennifer Pahlka.  

Dr. Picon is a professor at The Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Professor Ratti is head of MIT’s Senseable Lab. Drawing on the Lab’s work, they write: “We hope to reveal here an urban landscape of not just spaces and objects, but also motion, connection, circulation, and experience.” I.e. dynamic maps. Traffic, weather, people’s moment-by-moment decisions all change how a city moves and works in real time.

Dr. Picon says

These maps are a new way to apprehend the city, They’re no longer static. Maps provide a way to visualize information. They’re crucial to diagnosing problems. I think they provide a new depth…It’s a little bit like the discovery of the X-ray. You can see things within cities that were not previously accessible. You don’t see everything, but you see things you were not able to see before.

So I wondered: what would a dynamic map of our healthcare system look like?  

I’m telling you, just a map of what happens between drug companies, PBMs, health plans, pharmacies, and patients would open people’s eyes to that particular insanity in our healthcare system.  Now repeat for the millions of other ecosystems in our healthcare system.  If that kind of dynamic mapping — showing all the complexities, bottlenecks, circuitous routes, and redundancies within the system — wouldn’t lead to health care reform, I don’t know what would.

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