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Healthcare Administration

Dr. Jason Doctor on the Importance of Empowering Patients

Dr. Jason Doctor discusses changes in healthcare, his current research, and ways to innovate the field.

Jason Doctor, PhD

Health Informatics, USC Schaeffer Center

What are the top challenges that public health professionals face today?

To implement treatments and policies that are supported by evidence. Many medical treatments are justified because they are plausible from a biomedical standpoint. Later for many of these treatments, we find they do not work or are harmful, and this has negative public health consequences.

How can healthcare providers better prioritize patient-centric care?

The idea of patient-centeredness is more revolutionary than people think. It is more than listening to the patient; it really means treating patients as agents of their own health instead of passive recipients of treatment. To prioritize it requires we give patients skills to manage their own health.

What inspired your recent research regarding opioid prescription stewardship? 

Long-term opioid use was rare before 1996. Then, pain specialists and pharmaceutical companies promoted the idea that opioids were safe. This become the dominant view. Seeing the rise in deaths that followed made me wonder why clinicians would continue to believe in opioid safety. I developed some ideas of clinician “blind spots” and tested them.

What is a piece of advice you would give to a student who is pursuing a career in health administration?

Think about your job as one of coach. You can make a great impact on health if you can coach the clinical team in a way that motivates them to provide safe and effective care to patients. 

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