Tech Tonics: Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Getting Close to Home on Healthcare Costs
Jane Sarasohn-Kahn’s mother was named Polly. Polly was diagnosed in 1971 with leukemia treated with the current state of medieval medicine and told she would not live long. But armed with a well-equipped librarian, some cooperative doctors and Adelle Davis’ book Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit, she found her way to 7 more happy, productive years of life, outwitting the system through being an information-hungry consumer.
Jane watched this as a young adult studying economics and was profoundly impacted. The seminal moment in her career occurred during her mother’s last 13 days of her life, spent in a hospital at a cost of $130,000, or $10,000 per day in the currency of the time. Jane got a look at the bill and found that her family was responsible only for phone and TV costs. “It made me think ‘Who is paying for this?,’” says, Jane, who reports that this revelation catapulted her into her career as a health economist at the intersection of medicine, health insurance and people/families.
There are many kinds of health economists, but Jane’s focus is on the microeconomics of the household and family. She has built a highly successful consulting practice helping global healthcare companies recognize the importance of seeing through this lens and the essential role of the Chief Household Officer, usually a woman. As we morph into a healthcare world characterized more and more by do-it-yourself engagement and consumer purchasing power, Jane’s wisdom becomes more and more profound, and is always engaging; Jane approaches her work with a joy and enthusiasm that would make anyone want to sit up and listen to her endlesslessly.