Dr. Tony Dale: An Old-World Doctor’s Prescription for Health in a New World

September 1, 2021
Josie Rasberry

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To kick off season two of the Point Health podcast, we recorded a special episode in collaboration with the Race to Value podcast and its hosts Dr. Eric Weaver and Daniel Chipping of the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative. Our guest was Dr. Tony Dale, founder and Chairman of The Karis Group and Sedera. 

Tony has directly impacted the lives of millions of patients seeking the best possible care at fair and affordable prices. His interest in tackling the business side of healthcare began following his rude introduction to the American medical system when he injured his knee playing basketball and needed knee surgery. After being quoted an initial price and then receiving a significantly larger bill, Tony was determined to find a way to help people navigate the healthcare system as informed consumers. We discussed his work, his perspectives on the current healthcare system, and even dove into his newest book “The Cure For Healthcare: An Old World Doctor’s Prescription for the New World Health System”.

You can listen to the whole episode here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you listen to podcasts. If you’re short on time, we’ve included a few highlights from our conversation below:

Steven: “You have a book called, “The Cure For Healthcare: An Old World Doctor’s Prescription for the New World Health System” and I think a lot of your background and history really influences why you wrote the book and what you write about. So I wanted to ask you about the book and what inspired you to write it. What can readers expect to gain from it? 

Tony: “I'm a very strong believer in the concept that if you want change, there are various ways to tackle that. And you know, most of the people wanting change in America and healthcare tackle it primarily from the policy level. And I'd gotten involved with various people...I was working with some policy groups leading up to the last election and trying to help shape some of the thinking about what medical care might look like. But I really didn't have confidence that tackling it from the policy end was the most effective place to tackle it from. I'd become persuaded that what we need to do is tackle it from the grassroots, but the book is my expression of how we can genuinely bring a cure to the American healthcare system.”

Eric: “There was one quote in your book that connected with me; you referenced Albert Einstein and his quote stated as follows: ‘The thinking that got us into what we are, is not the thinking that will get us to where we want to be.’ And you go on to say how the answer to healthcare's challenges is not the incremental change to the current system, but that it's so much more. Can you talk a little bit about that and what that means to you and what kind of change you think is necessary for the U.S. healthcare system?”

Tony: “When it comes to healthcare, the areas of waste, of inefficiency, of outright fraud, the way the system has morphed from something that was designed around the patient and the physician to something which is really designed around policies that are enriching some definitely at the cost of others...I mean, the policy I read in Health Affairs from back in 2011 had a headline that said, ‘The salary wages for the last 10 years have all been eaten up by healthcare increases.’ And it's not just the 10 years prior to that article, which would be 2001 to 2011. It would be the 10 years before that for the last 30 years, really the vast bulk of what normally would have been an excepted, a natural part of American life in the sort of annual increase in salary and spending power. The whole sort of concept that there was a better future for the ordinary American was as part of the American dream, the narrative that the rest of the world, including myself, believed. But that narrative was being lost here and it was becoming untrue. And it's the healthcare system that has sort of morphed into something which is extracting money from people at the very place where they're most in need themselves. You know, those were some of the types of issues that were forcing my thinking and pushing me down this path of saying there has to be a way to change the system and the answer isn't incremental. It needs to be dramatic.”

To hear more about Tony’s book, his work in the medical cost-sharing space, his career in transforming healthcare, and more, listen to the entire podcast episode here. You can also hear more from Tony, Eric, Daniel, and Steven by following them and their organizations on Twitter at @tonydaleaustin, @sederahealth, @Eric_S_Weaver, @DanielChipping, @The_ACLC, and @SvenC

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