By Spencer Feingold
Award-winning journalist Katie Couric said digital innovation is key to fixing the broken health care system during a conversation about technology and medicine at South by Southwest (SXSW) this weekend.
“There are a lot of things that are said that are negative about technology but I think in this case, technology can make health and information so much more accessible and so much easier to navigate,” Couric told Cheddar following a panel discussion on the topic at the Austin, Texas-based conference Sunday.
Couric spoke alongside David Ko, president and COO of Rally Health, on how digital integration can lower costs and streamline the nation’s healthcare system.
First and foremost, Couric and Ko say, is simplifying the terminology and creating a one-stop-shop for consumer health care needs. Most people “don’t know what a deductible is or what a copay is,” Couric said.
Couric has long been an advocate for improved healthcare systems and advanced medical research. Her activism followed the death of her husband, Jay Monahan, from cancer in 1998. He was just 42 years old.
“I know full well how confusing and scary it can be,” Couric said on the U.S. health care system.
In 2008, Couric co-founded Stand Up to Cancer, which raises funds for medical research and connects patients with cutting edge treatments. The group has raised hundreds of millions of dollars since its founding and has contributed to five new drug approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The organization has recruited major Hollywood stars to raise money, including Bradley Cooper who helped produce a televised fundraiser in 2018 that raised a record $124 million.
At SXSW, Couric called "Medicare for All" a "hot button issue" in the 2020 presidential elections but did not endorse any specific policies.
She did, however, express concern about the affordability of healthcare and the “multi-tiered” nature of the system.
“Just because I am a person of means, why should I get such better treatment than someone who isn't?” Couric said. “It is so patently unfair.”