2015 December

Making Small Moves, Creating Big Change


Lentz in the Danforth University Center.
Photo by Sid Hastings

WashU student focuses on fine-tuning health care delivery

John Lentz, master’s degree candidate in public health at the Brown School, believes that once it is understood how a large-scale administrative health care system functions, even a small tweak can generate a major improvement in health outcomes.

“We are in the midst of major changes and huge growth, and it’s largely happening behind the scenes,” says Lentz, whose excitement when discussing the current state of health care administration is palpable. What inspires him most is being in a position—armed with the knowledge attained at Brown and from years of work experience—to make minor but significant changes to administrative health care systems.

Take for example one of the effects of the Affordable Care Act—using electronic medical records to improve quality of care— which according to Lentz is slowly, quietly, transforming health information technology and will have a radical effect on how health care is delivered in the future.

“It’s a steady march forward,” says Lentz. “In another five years, it will be unheard of to have paper charts. This one aspect will accelerate every other aspect of health care.”

In a way, nearly everything Lentz has done in his life has led up to this moment. His trajectory began early when he became involved in scouting and discovered he had a talent for leadership. Later in life he experienced an epiphany while working in the emergency department of a large hospital. There Lentz realized he was a “big picture” person and saw that his talents lay behind the scenes.

“Everything I do is driven by a desire to help people,” Lentz says. And as he sets off to Colorado to seek an administrative position in a hospital or a health care system, he hopes to be helping millions of people in the future.


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