Michael Dowling, the president and chief executive officer at Northwell Health, has written a new book that he said highlights positives — and a few challenges — within the health care industry.
"There is an avalanche of negativity around health care, and it's not accurate," Dowling said in an interview. "The public pundits talk about how bad everything is, and it's not a fair characterization. There are holes, but there are also amazing advances taking place."
The book, "Health Care Reboot: Megatrends Energizing American Medicine," is co-authored by Charles Kenney, an editor at Northwell. It is published by Forbes Books.
It highlights medical advances, including improvements in outcomes for cancer, cardiology and stroke patients. Dowling also notes the more than $1.5 billion Northwell has invested in the Feinstein Institute, the health system's research arm, as well as its partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Dowling also spends multiple chapters on challenges within the health care system, including the importance of preventive medicine, and social detriments, including care disparities between wealthier and poor areas.
Recent Census statistics about life expectancy on Long Island reflect such disparities. For instance, East Meadow residents, on average, live to 85. A few miles away, in less financially secure Uniondale, the life expectancy drops to 73.5.
In the book, Dowling quotes Northwell's Dr. Mark Jarrett, who said, "Let's say you spend 24 hours a year in the doctor's office — one full day. Your health is largely determined by what happens the other 364 days of the year." In other words, health care is only one of many components of health.
Dowling said in the December interview that health care systems are responsible for helping close the gap between the rich and poor.
"Housing, food and economic development all play a factor," Dowling said. "And health systems need to be involved in educating the public about this."