Futurist Andy Hines to Moderate DC Health Summit: Oct. 29, 2008

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What is the future of health insurance in America? Futurist and author Andy Hines will provide insight and field questions from panelists and audience at Oct. 29 event.

Futurist Andy Hines will be the moderator at the 2008 DC Health Summit, a meeting that is bringing together 100 of the top minds in the health care industry on Oct. 29 from 11 am to 1 pm at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington, DC (http://www.dchealthsummit.com).

Hines will ask and field questions of an all-star health care panel including Kaiser Permanente's Director of Population Care Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, Neurosurgeon Dr. James Melisi, the National Rehabilitation Hospital's VP Dr. Paul Rao, Maryland's former Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, and UnitedHealthcare COO Kevin Ruth -- and Virginia Senator George Barker, who prior to taking office last November worked for 30 years for the Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia where he helped contain skyrocketing health care costs, promote quality of care, and ensure access to medical care for all Northern Virginians.

The future of health insurance

Based on his decades of experience as a futurist, Hines has developed strategic insights of his own. As the director of custom projects at the global futurist research and consulting firm Social Technologies, he and his colleagues have worked on several projects that explore the future of health care in America.

Hines says some big issues ahead include:

  • Societal views on personal responsibility -- As Americans, will we lean toward accommodation or a more punitive approach such as saying obesity is either a disease beyond one's control or "it's their fault?"
  • The implications of a deeper move to holistic wellness -- To what extent will innovations like support groups be covered by health insurance?
  • The buck stops where? -- Ultimately, who will be responsible for a person's health and wellbeing? The individual, employers, or the government?
  • From the institution to the individual -- How fast and extensive will the shift to consumer-centric health care take place?
  • Incremental vs. transformational approaches -- Will changes in our approach to health care happen in slow, incremental steps? Or will an event occur that causes changes to occur rapidly?

Personal Biology in a Transparent World

The future of health care -- and health insurance -- will be increasingly challenging and also create new opportunities, Hines suggests, pointing to a recent brief by his firm, Social Technologies, entitled "Transparency of the Person: Personal Biology in a Transparent World." [The brief will be given as a gift to all participants of the Summit].

"We forecast that a growing trend toward openness and information sharing will enable new mechanisms for data collection in the human body," he explains. "Advances in the biological sciences, such as genomics, neuroscience, and systems biology, will -- among other developments -- provide a greater public awareness of the genetic predispositions of disease could have significant impacts on how consumers perceive their nutritional and lifestyle choices."

For example, Hines says that more detailed genetic information and further research into the foods and beverages that impact genetic expression of disease-causing genes could also have a significant impact on public perceptions of what are considered "healthy" foods and lifestyles.

"It is also unclear to what extent health insurers will cover genomic testing or the administration of treatments designed to prevent disease emergence," he adds. "Will this redefine what a 'pre-existing' condition is? How health insurers and national healthcare systems handle the insurability of preventive treatments could have a significant impact on the rate of adoption and use of genomic-based medicine."

Impetus for Change

Understanding more possibilities about the future of health care, such as those Hines describes, is fundamental to improving the system, insists Stephanie Cohen, CEO of the health benefits firm Golden & Cohen, who is hosting the Oct. 29 event.

"That is why I wanted to get all the players into one room at the DC Health Summit -- from futurists like Andy Hines to insurance company executives, doctors, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical companies, and politicians," says Cohen. "All these people have their own ideas, war stories, and agendas about what needs to be done to get health care insurance rates back in check -- but never before have they sat down together and talked it through. The Summit is the first step to get this important conversation going."

Hines says he's excited to be the moderator at this groundbreaking event.

"As a futurist, my job is to help the leaders of organizations to look at all the current indicators and use simple tools to forecast and plan ahead," explains Hines, who is the author of Thinking about the Future, a guidebook filled with strategic foresight tools. "I am honored to be part of this Summit, because 100 of the top minds in the health insurance industry will come together to do exactly that. I am confident the DC Health Summit will be an important event."

About the Summit:
One hundred top leaders in the health care and business community have been invited to attend the first annual DC Health Summit from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington, DC (http://www.dchealthsummit.com).

Agenda: Following Steven Aldana's keynote speech, moderator / futurist Andy Hines of the global research and consulting firm Social Technologies will continue the discussion with a panel of leading-edge health care industry professionals. Audience members will also be invited to ask questions.

Panelists include: Virginia Senator George Barker, Kaiser Permanente's Director of Population Care Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, Neurosurgeon Dr. James Melisi, the National Rehabilitation Hospital's VP Dr. Paul Rao, Maryland's former Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, and UnitedHealthcare COO Kevin Ruth.

To attend the event, please register online by October 17, or call Lisa Garlena at Golden & Cohen at 301-330-5300 x230.

About Keynote Speaker Steven Aldana, CEO, Wellsteps:
Steven Aldana, PhD, is the CEO and founder of WellSteps, a turnkey wellness program designed to help employees adopt and maintain healthy behaviors for life. He has published more than 60 scientific articles on the prevention, arrest, and reversal of America's most common chronic diseases, and has written 7 books on the ability of healthy lifestyle habits to prevent cardiovascular dis ease, cancers, diabetes, and many chronic diseases. For more visit http://www.stevealdana.com.

About Moderator / Futurist Andy Hines, Director of Custom Projects, Social Technologies:
Andy Hines is a leading organizational, academic, and consulting futurist. He is currently the Director of Custom Projects at the global research firm Social Technologies, and an adjunct professor at the University of Houston MS Program in Futures Studies, a program from which he graduated in 1990. Previously, Hines established and ran the Global Trends Program for Kellogg Co., and served as futurist and senior ideation leader at Dow Chemical. Hines has co-authored three books, including his most recent, Thinking about the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight. For more visit http://www.socialtechnologies.com.

About Stephanie Cohen, CEO, Golden & Cohen:
Founded in 1992, Golden & Cohen provides health insurance benefit services to more than 1500 clients. Based in Gaithersburg, MD, the company generated $70 million in annual sales last year and currently has 15 employees. As the CEO and co-founder of the firm, Stephanie Cohen has more than two decades of experience in small group health insurance, disability programs and life insurance. She recently was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and annually serves on the prestigious United HealthCare, Coventry, Aetna and Kaiser Broker Council. She is also a member of the Women Presidents' Organization, the District of Columbia Insurance Commissioner Advisory Council, and The Greater Washington Health Underwriters.

Please direct questions and media inquiries to Hope Katz Gibbs of Inkandescent Public Relations, hope @ hopegibbs.com, 703-346-6975.

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