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CEOs Discuss The Future Of Health Care

Perhaps the only constant in health care today is change. Sean Campbell, managing partner of health care at IBM, shares the key elements driving this change, “Health care is transforming due to three pivotal trends contributing to constant change in this industry, Forbes writes.

Patients have higher expectations around the experience they receive.

Technology investments to utilize analytics and cognitive computing enabling the prediction and prevention of diseases. The ongoing requirement for operational improvements and cost efficiencies to provide savings around the delivery of care.”

To gain more insights into health care’s future, I got together on June 27 with leaders in children’s health care, home health care, and military health care to talk about the future, their current transformation and the role of data. The participants in the conversation were:

• Sandra L. Fenwick, president and CEO, Boston Children’s Hospital

• Paul Kusserow, president and CEO, Amedisys Home Health & Hospice

• Brandon Carter, president, USAA Life Insurance Company

Robert Reiss: What word codifies the potential future of health care?

Sandra Fenwick: Precision medicine. I think we are on the cusp of some of the greatest opportunities for transformation in diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention. Now we are able to literally go into the disease-causing gene, modify it and either change the course of that disease or cure it. This is game changing!

Paul Kusserow: Personalization. Personalized care planning when combined with behavioral economic principles drives engagement. When you look at it a lot of issues in health care, they are actually behaviorally driven, which means they are potentially preventable. I think it’s 80 percent of all health care could be cured or avoided if people changed their behaviors and habits. Once people are responsible for and own their care management and compliance, they can positively impact their own health.

Brandon Carter: Customization. Data and digital platforms can match products and services to customer needs. For example, health care customer relationships can start to look like banking relationships where customers can swipe their card and health care companies will know if the customer has made a healthy choice. Just as banks incentivize their customers to use their cards for cashback or rewards on purchases, this technology could be used at supermarkets, restaurants, and health facilities to enable health care companies to create incentives for customers to live healthier.

Reiss: Describe your organization’s transformation.

Carter: In 2013 we heard two key concerns from our members: First, the primary reason for bankruptcy for members over age 60 was lack of adequate health care coverage and second, that once members separate from the military they lose health care and life insurance coverage. This led us down the path of creating a new strategy we call, “protect the core” which is one of the first digital and mobile platforms providing access to many health care products and solutions. Our brokered health book has experienced record member growth, roughly 150%, since 2014.  Just last year we saw operational revenues grow 13% in the health line.

Kusserow: When I joined Amedisys in late 2014, we had just gone through a major settlement with the government, stock was very low and we were involved in activities that didn’t differentiate us. Being an ex-McKinsey guy, I know a lot about writing strategy, but for the first time I decided to actually have the employees write the strategy. So we asked a thousand employees, “What’s really important to you? What do we need to do to be distinctive, to deliver great service?” And then we asked our clients. We incorporated it all into a simple strategy that focuses on 1. Delivering high quality 2. Making sure we have the best employees possible 3. That our employees get the best tools they need to do their jobs. The result has been a great turnaround in the market and in our company’s energy and focus resulting in market cap growth of about 115% since 2015.

Fenwick: We have a history of almost 150 years including the discovery of the polio virus, the first heart surgery in children, the first chemotherapy for leukemia … we’re never satisfied with the status quo and we like to say innovation and discovery is in our DNA.  So today we see our value equation as quality plus experience plus outcomes plus innovations divided by affordability or price. With this equation, we’re currently focusing on consumer access,  wait times, quality and safety. We’ve trained 14,000 of our care providers in every part of the operation in high reliability methods. And we’ve taken out $120 million in costs to hold our prices down and reduced non-value added utilization.

Reiss: What is your take on how data is impacting health care today and your organization?

Kusserow: I’ve worked on both the payer and provider side. You really can’t drive customer experience unless you have a continuity of data. And what’s interesting when you look at providers versus payer, payers have more of a continuity of data which they can use for predictions. Providers have more of a difficult time because their data is more sporadic from intermittent experiences with patients. Hospitals clearly have it the worst because they’re dealing with the most acute cases with the least amount of continuous data at their hands.

Fenwick: Data is essential for the management of patients across the continuum of care.  Patients see multiple providers across multiple health-care networks.  Today the payer holds that data, soon the networks will.  As a major referral hospital for children, about 70% of our patients reside in another system’s network so ease of access to that data through interoperability is key to provide the most effective and efficient care.  This is especially true for us as our patients come from every state and 100 countries around the world.

Carter: We see data as a way to help members make wiser choices. We’re focusing on incentivizing our members to make small steps towards improving their health. Half of our members are considered digitally savvy, while the U.S. population is roughly 36%, and 44% of our members use wearable devices compared to just 21% of the general population. Research has shown a direct correlation between a customer’s health and their financial security. So we see our digital platform as allowing us to provide choice and convenience.

Ultimately, when we move into wearables and the presentment of data, we can be integrated into our members’ lives in a way that helps facilitate their financial security.

In summary, health care is the one discipline that is closest to heart of most people, as everyone wants to live a long, healthy life. Perhaps the most fitting quote regarding the future of health care comes from Charles Darwin when he said, “”It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

CEOs Discuss The Future Of Health Care - overview

Summary: Perhaps the only constant in health care today is change. Sean Campbell, managing partner of health care at IBM, shares the key elements driving this change, "Health care is transforming due to three pivotal trends contributing to constant change in this industry. Patients have higher expectations around the experience they receive. Technology investments to utilize analytics and cognitive computing enabling the prediction and prevention of diseases. The ongoing requirement for operational improvements and cost efficiencies to provide savings around the delivery of care."

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  • Kenneth Licker

    Why are physicians always left out of the discussions on the future of health care? You need MD’s on board with these changes or they can’t be accomplished.