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Mercy neurosurgeon, former president releases new book

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Dr. Alan Scarrow, former president of Mercy Springfield Communities who’s now a full-time neurosurgeon with the health care system, self-published his first book.

Called “Hope over Experience: How Big Data, Automation, and AI Can Fix Healthcare,” the book calls for action from physicians, government officials and others, such as businesspeople, to improve the nation’s health care situation through the use of advances in technology.

“Health care is, was and, I think, will always be a very important part of the culture of the United States,” Scarrow said in an interview with Springfield Business Journal. “I’m disappointed that this has taken a backstage to other issues.”

Giving the looming 2020 presidential elections, Scarrow said conversations surrounding health care are timely.

“We need to put this as more of a center stage issue,” he said.

Scarrow said the government has failed to come up with a good solution for health care because the three areas of universal access, high quality and low cost have not all been addressed at once.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, for instance, addressed accessibility, but not so much quality and cost, he said, noting Medicare has similar issues.

Where the health care industry, the government and private businesses can help in the process is by adapting technology to bring on solutions, Scarrow said.

“Technology has a chance of making a big impact on cost and quality,” he said, pointing to the use of artificial intelligence and big data to improve those areas. “We’re starting to see the effects of that in health care.”

Through Amazon.com Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AMZN) e-commerce platform, Scarrow released “Hope over Experience” on Aug. 20 through his own Hippocrates Publishing Co. Amazon, he said, prints copies of the book as needed. It’s also available digitally.

The book-writing process took about two years, Scarrow said, noting he’d like to write another depending on how well “Hope over Experience” performs.

In addition to his work as a neurosurgeon and two-year stint as president of Mercy Springfield Communities, Scarrow has a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and spent a year in the U.S. Senate working as a health policy analyst. He also was a member of SBJ’s 2018 class of Men of the Year.

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