Healthcare delivery across the United States is changing at a rapid pace. While Connecticut is the third healthiest state in the nation, state leaders recognize the need to improve the healthcare value the state provides to its consumers.

Last month, more than 350 healthcare executives from the state of Connecticut and beyond attended the Future of Health Care forum to examine how Connecticut can innovate to improve healthcare access, outcomes, and efficiency.

The audience and presenters were stakeholders representing payors, providers, and government. Key speakers and panelists included prominent players in the industry:

  • Troyen Brennan, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark
  • Michael Critelli, Retired Chairman and CEO, Pitney Bowes
  • Amy Cunningham, Executive Director of the Connecticut Health Council
  • Tiffany Donelson, Vice President of Program, Connecticut Health Foundation
  • Deirdre Gifford, M.D., Commissioner of the Department of Social Services
  • Paul Grady, Principal of Alera Group
  • Peter Hayes, CEO and President, Healthcare Purchaser Alliance of Maine
  • Christopher Koller, President of Milbank Memorial Fund
  • Annie Lamont, Co-Founder and Managing Partner Oak HC/FT and First Lady of Connecticut

Collective Solutions

Jason Madrak, Vice President CT Regional Market for Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, discussed the value of the forum saying, “I applaud the Connecticut Health Council for putting this together and bringing some great folks here to debate these topics. Coming together in meetings such as this is exactly what has to happen to get these collective solutions to start bubbling up.”

He added, “It takes a village to solve some of these [ongoing health are] issues. We’ve got some very smart people here today with a unique perspective—and it’s across the gamut. We talked about things the provider community can do as those delivering care and things the insurance community can do as those who handle the financing.”

Collaboration was also underscored by Dr. John Rodis, President St. Francis Hospital. When speaking about the modernization of primary care, he emphasized the importance of working with communities. “We need to help educate the community and give them the resources they need to prevent things … we have to eliminate some of the disparities of healthcare [and provide better] access, transportation, and education,” he said.

Tiffany Donelson, Vice President of Program, Connecticut Health Foundation, also thinks a community-based approach is key. “How can we get community-based organizations connected to the healthcare system where there is shared data, shared goals around outcomes, and shared financing so they are supporting each other and making the population healthier overall?” she questioned.

“As we think about healthcare systems partnering with community-based organizations, we also want to make sure they’re not just picking one issue to address and that community based organizations that are collaborating to work with the healthcare system to address a variety of needs, she added.

Innovation in Healthcare Technology

With the disruption and rapid innovation in healthcare technology, the Future of Health Care event was timely, enabling presenters to discuss how to create a vision for the future and a plan to execute that vision.

When asked what can be done to ensure the modernization of primary care goes well, Annie Lamont, Co-Founder and Managing Partner Oak HC/FT and First Lady of Connecticut said, “One way of being progressive is actually thinking about how to do we provide care better care more holistically and thinking about the total cost of care.”

She added, “Hospitals shouldn’t be thinking that we’re pushing against value-based care, they should be embracing it and thinking about how we’re going to be the most efficient provider as a system, not just in the hospital. This is the future. It is coming.”

In terms of how technology can transform healthcare, Lamont, said, “We think it’s the integration of technology with services. A lot of artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used, but it’s much more about how we think about payment reform and how we think about having financial alignment in the system.”

Tiffany Donelson, Vice President of Program, Connecticut Health Foundation, addressed some challenges the state faces in moving toward value-based care. She also pointed out that Connecticut is moving in the right direction.

“Our barriers are consistent with other states. It’s always challenging to get the insurers to align with the providers to align with the employers. The solution is to “find common goals and objectives amongst the entire healthcare system,” she emphasized.

Donelson said the Future of Health Care event was “amazing for a variety of reasons.” She noted, “If we do begin to focus on value and outcomes, the population will be healthier. I’m excited that our state is moving toward value, personally as an organization, but I also think Connecticut has been behind some of our neighboring states. We haven’t moved at their speed quite yet. I’m excited that 350 people showed up because those are 350 people who can help move the system to catch up with some of our neighboring states and move closer to value.”

Building Momentum

With an understanding that healthcare issues cannot be solved in one day, the event provided a launchpad for discussion.

“The room was filled—and it stayed full all day long. That’s a testament to having quality speakers and the right type of program put together. It really was a unique atmosphere,” said Amy Cunningham, Executive Director of the Connecticut Health Council.

She noted the feedback she received  throughout the event, saying, “To have that satisfaction from executives who attended is really very rewarding.”

Paul Grady, Principal of Alera Group, was also pleased with the outcome of the summit. “I think we achieved our goal and hopefully we built some momentum to change things pretty dramatically,” he noted.

“I’m encouraged by with an event like this because Connecticut hasn’t had the momentum of bringing together all these sectors. I’m happy 350 people registered because it’s the beginnings of a conversation,” Donelson added. “The room was filled with employers, insurers, and healthcare providers—and that’s what we need more of. Connecticut has been behind in setting the tables and having those open, honest conversations about what it’s going to take to move the state to value and I think this event was a perfect opportunity for us to catapult those conversations and those convenings.”

The Future of Health Care forum was co-sponsored by the Connecticut Health Council, Connecticut Choosing Wisely Collaborative, Connecticut Business Group on Health, the Business Council of Fairfield County, Connecticut Health Foundation, Qualidigm, and Moving to Value Alliance.