Saturday, March 10, 2012

Redesigning the Delivery System

The Aspen Institute released their new report “Reinventing Health Care: The Barriers to Innovation” at a March 2nd briefing held at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington D.C. The event explored the existing barriers present in today’s healthcare system, new models and changes along with strategies to use, and more ways to promote EHR usage among providers.

The report is an initiative of the Aspen Institute Health Innovation Project produced in partnership with WellPoint. The project is a collaborative effort where experts such as physicians, health plan leaders, policy makers, healthcare researchers, and patients are working together to create a delivery system that is coherent, cost effective, and safe.

Keynoter Sam Nussbaum, MD., Wellpoint, Inc’s Chief Medical Officer opening the event, said, “The U.S. has been successful and leads in research and development and has made unprecedented advances in medical technology. Our advances have resulted in today’s many new treatments and pharmaceuticals now available working to improve the health and healthcare in this country.”

As he further explained, “The U.S. however, faces challenges and ranks near the bottom as compared to other countries in terms of improving public health, dealing with escalating costs for patient care, reducing costs for specialty drugs, and providing access to services especially for the country’s aging population and people with chronic diseases.”

Dr. Nussbaum suggests that innovation needs to play an important role to deal with the challenges evident in the present healthcare system. For example, one prominent issue affecting the present health system is the current and anticipated lack of primary care physicians available to treat patients in this country. As Nussbaum suggests primary care doctors need to get paid more, they need to get paid for coordinating care, and should be included in shared savings plans.

Another vital issue involves improving the quality of patient care and safety. As Nussbaum explained, “WellPoint is able to address this issue with their “Quality-in-Sights Hospital Incentive Program” (Q-HIP) that uses a scorecard to measure the extent to which hospitals implement process improvements and works to reduce HAIs and adverse health outcomes.”

In another move to improve the consistency and quality of healthcare for Californians, a few years ago, WellPoint launched their “Patient Safety First “a $6 million collaboration between Anthem Blue Cross, California regional hospital associations, and the National Health Foundation to improve the consistency and quality of healthcare in the state.

Results show that the initiative has helped save lives by working to prevent sepsis-related deaths, ventilator associated pneumonia, central line blood stream infections, and catheter associated urinary tract infections.

Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief, at Health Affairs moderated a panel to specifically discuss the various barriers to innovation and how to promote the innovations as published in the Aspen report. The panelists included Basit Chaudhry, MD, PHD Medical Scientist at IBM Research, Joseph Hutter, MD, Fellow at the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, Practicing Physician Intermountain Healthcare, and Daniel L. Newton, PhD Director, Behavioral Economics, Clinical Strategy, and Innovation at WellPoint Inc.

A second panel tackled engaging consumers in the issues facing the current healthcare system. The panelists included Carole Roan Gresenz, PhD, Senior Economist, Director, Economics, Finance, and Organization Program at RAND Health, Anjali Jain MD. Managing Consultant and Researcher for The Lewin Group, Lewis Mattison Staff Vice President, FutureVentures, WellPoint, Inc., and Brent Parton, Director, Health Programs for SHOUT America.

To view the Aspen Institute’s report “Reinventing Health Care: The Barriers to Innovation” online, go to For other inquiries contact, Franmaire Kennedy, PhD, Acting Director of the Health, Biomedical Science and Society Program within the Aspen Institute at (202) 736-5827.