Whatever changes ultimately take hold, the healthcare system cannot afford to continue operating as it currently does, said Brenner, who offers a doomsday prediction: "The system is going to collapse because of the long-term federal debt. The system has gotten used to very high annual funding increases, and those are going to slow down."
"But there is no example in the history of mankind of a very large economic system just rolling over. ... It takes a large movement," Brenner added. "If people care about this topic, they need to be part of the solution. This isn't a technological problem; it's a political problem. Patients, providers, concerned citizens, and stakeholders need to stand up and say 'enough is enough.'"
Despite the daily challenges he faces in his work, Brenner said he feels optimistic about the future of healthcare and the possibility of improving care delivery and costs for super-utilizers.
"I do feel hopeful, because if you want to save money, you go where the money is being spent; you go where the people are using the system," he said. "The only way to fix this is to take better care of them. One way or another, the idea of taking better care of really sick people is going to win."