Key Takeaways from the 2018 Value Improvement Summit

October 9th, 2018

On October 4, 2018, we welcomed an outstanding group of innovators and thought leaders to Boston’s Battery Wharf Hotel for Avant-garde Health’s fourth annual Value Improvement Summit. The two-day event consisted of presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions focused on driving change and value in health care. Here are just a handful of our key takeaways from these informative, interactive and insightful discussions.

Visibility is essential to driving value.

Michael Jaff, D.O., President of Newton Wellesley Hospital, stressed the importance of visibility in “Achieving Organizational Alignment on the Move to Value.” Mark Kelley, M.D., Director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Faculty Leadership Initiative, joined Jaff for this fireside chat, in which they discussed varied governance structures, the challenges posed by flawed data, and how transparency is instrumental in achieving alignment. Only when this clarity is established can an organization proceed to drive quality and value.

Incentivize outcomes versus implementation.

Robert Kaplan, Ph.D., led a Harvard Business School case discussion on Medtronic, “Exploring New Engagement Models between Suppliers and Providers,” in which attendees echoed the importance of shifting away from getting paid for technology, and toward rewarding the outcomes produced by said technology. Providers and suppliers need to look beyond traditional supply chain and procurement tactics to collaboratively drive value.

Effectively engage with evidence.

“Engaging Physicians on Care Improvement” featured physician leadership perspectives from Newton-Wellesley, Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, UCSD and Cedars-Sinai. The group of M.D.s — Tim Foster, Tim Reiter, Rich Santore and Mark Vrahas — covered EHR integrations, business process management, and the importance of tying shared goals to tangible metrics (like the data they’ve been able to access through Avant-garde Health). Physicians love to solve problems; and they are clamoring for data integrity and outcomes-centric objectives to support their involvement.

Implementation is iterative.

Harvard Medical School Professor and former Chief Clinical Officer at Partners, Mike Jellinek, M.D., emphasized that when it comes to EHRs and data intelligence, successful implementations are synonymous with accountability and iteration. The hard work is not done once it’s “go live” time, nor will gains be immediately realized. Jellinek’s fireside chat with Cerner’s Senior VP of Population Health John Glaser, Ph.D., focused on “Becoming Smarter” with clear goal setting, accountability structure and being prepared to pause and adjust as needed. The EHR industry will continue to iterate on interoperability and usability.

Time will tell for employers and providers.

Health care is a $3.3 trillion market, and employers represent 34% of it. There’s an increasing number of providers contracting directly with employers. Supported by fewer legislative and economic barriers, employer groups are setting up Centers of Excellence and redesigning portions of their employee health benefits plans to create value. But as Harvard Business School’s Rob Huckman, Ph.D., noted, it’s premature to state how “New Market Entrants,” like the Amazon/Berkshire-Hathaway/JPMorgan venture, will compete or collaborate with provider organizations. Patients need to better understand their options, and providers need to know more about patient preferences.

To the attendees who traveled near and far to voice challenges, celebrate successes and discuss how we can continue to improve the delivery of value-based, cost-effective patient care: thank you for making this year’s Value Improvement Summit our most engaging one yet. We welcome you to share your takeaways in the comments below!

If you’re interested in viewing video coverage of select Summit sessions, email info@avantgardehealth.com to request access.


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