Panelists discuss future of health care at 17th Annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy

April 11, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Leadership Professional Development & Education 

Today, at the opening day of the 17th annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy in San Diego, 700 attendees heard from a diverse panel of industry experts who discussed the changing dynamics of the health care marketplace and how we can work together to contain health care costs through innovation and integration.

“How do we offer something that is affordable to patients and still allow physicians to be financially whole? It’s a very fine needle we need to thread,” said panelist Paul Markovich, CEO of Blue Shield of California. According to Markovich, two key elements will be attracting younger, healthier patients into the risk pool and redefining “primary care.”

"If there’s a way for us to look at the scope of primary care more broadly, shift to a system where we can understand that it’s not just the services provided in the office,” said Markovich. “If we can understand it, manage it, and pay for it, we’ll be far more successful together."

Markovich predicts that if we don’t get a handle on rising health care costs, we’ll end up with a single payer system. “We must all work together. Everyone is a cost center. Even me. Everyone is a part of the problem, and everyone needs to be a part of the solution.”

The panelists agreed that advances in technology and changing patient expectations are going to push the health care industry to think very differently than it does today. "Technology is a tool that we have not even begun to leverage to its real potential," said Susan Turney, M.D., President and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association. 

According to Craig Sammitt, M.D., President of DaVita Healthcare Partners, electronic health records will play a critical role. But in order to truly revolutionize health care, he says, "we need a single source of truth about our patients that is secure and safe. We’re going to see an explosion of new apps and technologies to connect with people. But the single source of truth should always be the same."

Integration is going to be key, agreed Dustin Corcoran, CEO of the California Medical Association. But he warned not to mistake consolidation for integration. “We have to find a way for small and medium practices to have that same level of integration [as large groups and hospitals] without consolidation and without driving prices up,” said Corcoran. "We need to find a way for small practices to bind together, share data, share analytics, so they can better coordinate care at a lower cost."

Stay tuned throughout the weekend for more updates from the Western Health Care Leadership Academy!


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