NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Keynote speakers at day two of the MedeAnalytics 2012 Spring Client Summit agreed that healthcare cost trends are unsustainable and advocated taking action to cut costs and improve care delivery, rather than waiting for legislative and regulatory mandates.
Dr. William W. Stead, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Strategy/Transformation, director of the Informatics Center, chief information officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and chief information architect for Vanderbilt University
Stead noted that while disruptive change is unavoidable, there are always opportunities to improve value. "Cost increases in our healthcare system are unsustainable, and the chances of government resolving the problem are not good," he said. "The reality is that while we don't know what these changes will be ultimately, we do know there will be continued pressure to drive down costs."
Said Stead, "We (at Vanderbilt) are taking a portfolio approach to drive down costs and drive quality up." He identified the portfolio framework as a combination of innovation, scale-up, consolidation and re-engineering. He said Vanderbilt University Medical Center is driving the process in a very targeted way. Rather than massive "Neanderthal" cost cutting, he said, "We have identified what we really want to do and in a disciplined way have changed our margins…You must have the people and resources to make it real, not just pie-in-the-sky ideas."
Through this process, Vanderbilt developed targeted initiatives and managed to achieve a margin improvement of $70 million.
Jeff Miller, chief executive officer, North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE)
Discussing the successful formula for creating an HIE, Miller said, "It's more than a matter of creating a new pipeline, moving information from point A to point B. The real challenge is ensuring privacy—that's where the hard work is. Because the regulatory landscape isn't stable—often changing every few months with new rules—an HIE must also be agile enough to shift to the new important priority rather than get bogged down in a static plan that depends on a set of regulations."
An HIE must connect core and extended healthcare communities. He noted: "It can't be just about hospitals and doctors."
What about analytics and HIE? Miller cited four opportunities for analytics:
- Accountable care organization management
- Improving senior care management
- Diagnostic image ordering
- Physician practice analytics
Toward that end, Miller works closely with MedeAnalytics, using the company's Revenue Cycle Intelligence, Compliance and Revenue Integrity, and Clinical Performance Manager solutions.
He concluded that many think that an organization can operate alone. "But we won't be successful if we follow that mindset," he said. "In the long run, it will kill HIEs and the healthcare industry. We need to break down barriers and work together."
Dan Munro, contributing editor, Forbes, and founder and chief executive officer, iPatient
Munro used statistics to give a global overview of the healthcare landscape which painted an unflattering view of the U.S. He noted that the U.S. spends twice what other countries spend, but has higher infant mortality, obesity and end-of-life care costs.
By 2025, he said projections indicate that the annual cost of health insurance premiums will equal household income, which is obviously not sustainable.
Munro noted that there are only "two bullets" to effect needed change and bring costs down. One is legislation; the other is innovation.
He put a giant "x" through legislation, saying it will continue to play a role in managing healthcare costs, but the real gains will come in innovation.
He showcased a number of small companies with promising technologies that engage people in changing behaviors.
Munro also discussed the power of analytics and how it is used to influence consumer choices, noting that consumer behavior analytics and clinical analytics are merging and will play a major role in future healthcare.
Founded in 1994, MedeAnalytics delivers performance management solutions across the healthcare system—including hospitals, physician practices and payers—to ensure accountability and improve financial, operational and clinical outcomes. For more information, visit www.medeanalytics.com.
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