The Intimate Dissection of Healthcare Reform at the 8th Annual AHCC

Reform is a loaded word. At the 8th Annual American Health Care Congress, the challenges, strategies and objectives of healthcare reform were intimately dissected.

Among executives and thought leaders from across the healthcare industry at the two-day congress, the topic of value was a major focus point. The integration of new delivery models and providing value through collaborative partnerships between hospitals, physicians and healthcare was set as the ultimate task at hand, regarding healthcare reform.

Value is both a challenge we face and an outcome we hope to achieve. Throughout the discussions on innovation and strategies for enhancing quality, integration, engagement, outcomes and so forth, value was defined in a variety of ways. Included here, are highlights from sessions at the two-day congress.

  • On Clinical Integration Strategies for Improved Outcomes and Reduced Costs, speakers Robert Pryor, president CEO of Scott & White Healthcare and Douglas Strong, CEO of University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, offered some valuable insight on their approaches to transitioning to value-based care with a consumer focused business model, sharing core competencies and delivering value through risk sharing partnerships, and creating employee engagement.
  • On Managing Financial Risks of Accountable Care – New Health Care Delivery Models, speaker Richard Afable, president and CEO of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, shared some forward thinking ideas regarding new health care delivery models and how Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter’s idea of ‘shared value’ has really influenced their business model at Hoag.

‘Achieving high value for patients must become the overarching goal of health care delivery, with value defined as the health outcomes achieved per dollar spent. This goal is what matters for patients and unites the interests of all actors in the system. If value improves, patients, payers, providers, and suppliers can all benefit while the economic sustainability of the health care system increases.

The failure to prioritize value improvement in health care delivery and to measure value has slowed innovation, led to ill-advised cost containment, and encouraged micromanagement of physicians’ practices, which imposes substantial costs of its own. Measuring value will also permit reform of the reimbursement system so that it rewards value by providing bundled payments covering the full care cycle or, for chronic conditions, covering periods of a year or more. Aligning reimbursement with value in this way rewards providers for efficiency in achieving good outcomes while creating accountability for substandard care.’

Afable went on to provide examples in which value can be created that includes innovative, market based cost reductions; exceptional patient experiences; superior, safe, consistent clinical outcomes; and demonstrates improvements in the health of a community.

  • On Revolutionizing American Health Care using 21st Century Information Technology, Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of Permanente Medical Group, ended with a demand for innovation. Through the adoption of new delivery models, real value can be achieved. “Choice is more important than circumstance. We must offer the same convenience and capabilities to Americans to provide a high value quality of care and enable health care reform.”