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Future of Healthcare Symposium held in Century City

Greg Leach, CEO, Torrance Memorial; Ellen Zaman, Director, Community Affairs/Government and Public Policy, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Barb LeQuire, Director, Clinical Education, Torrance Memorial.
Greg Leach, CEO, Torrance Memorial; Ellen Zaman, Director, Community Affairs/Government and Public Policy, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; Barb LeQuire, Director, Clinical Education, Torrance Memorial.

Healthcare and pharmaceutical CEOs, senior executives, and policy advisors convened for the Future of Healthcare Symposium on Thursday, March 26, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza to discuss challenges in providing high-quality patient care, increasing healthcare costs, and the future role of technology.

The symposium, hosted by the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management, brought a long list of top healthcare executives under one roof.

Exploring affordability and quality improvements in the nation’s healthcare system, the lineup of speakers included: Susan Dentzer, senior policy adviser for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Steve Collis, president and CEO of AmerisourceBergen, Dr. John Agwunobi, former senior vice president and president of health and wellness at Wal-Mart, Mark Morgan, president of Anthem Blue Cross, Thomas Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Health System, Dr. David Feinberg, president and CEO of UCLA Health System, Dr. Arthur Southam, executive vice president of Health Plan Operations of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and John Figueroa, CEO of Genoa Healthcare, among others.

Dentzer, the keynote speaker, highlighted that U.S. prices for almost every aspect of healthcare greatly exceed those in all other developed economies.

“Since 2000 rising prices of hospital charges, professional services, drugs, devices, and administration costs have produced 91 percent of the increases in health spending,” said Dentzer. She identified businesses that aim to instill greater price transparency and, at the same time, lower cost.

Several speakers focused on the transition from fee-for-service to value-based service. Fee-for-service, a payment model in which physicians are incentivized by providing more treatments because payment is dependent on the quantity of care has become considerably less attract. Value-based service, based on quality of care, has flipped the traditional model of healthcare reimbursement on its head.

“There’s a shift from fee-for-service to value-based care as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” said keynote, Collis.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a newly covered population of Americans can decide where to go to receive service. Seeking more business, healthcare providers are shifting quality of care to be value-oriented.

Presentations and discussions not only focused on payment models, but also the future of patient care.

Telehealth was a common theme among several speakers.The emergence of telehealth, or telemedicine, is the delivery of health-related services and information at a distance via telecommunications technologies. Speakers echoed sentiments of expecting telehealth to push healthcare into the future.

“What’s happening in telehealth and telemedicine will improve the immediacy of medical care,” said Southam. In terms of on-site care, Agwunobi said that telehealth will be “the great equalizer. There is a movement afoot today that isn’t going to stop, and we need to make sure that we don’t get in the way.”

With the emergence of telehealth, the old paradigm of traveling in a car to the doctor office is unnecessary. More people are receiving healthcare in new ways and have access to their doctor or healthcare provider at touch of their fingertips on the computer of mobile device.

Feinberg explained as we move forward the industry will be largely consumer driven with a new generation of people who want to be cared for in a way that matches their level of comfort with technology. This means catering to their needs in new ways, and learning to use technology to reach them.

“Disruptive technologies will help us to push healthcare out of institutions and into home and offices. This will disrupt the way we receive and provide healthcare,” said Dentzer. New technologies are also making it easier for the patient to be their own doctor. “We tend to underestimate just how smart people really are,” said Agwunobi. “We need to learn from the disease-state expert, which is the patient.”

Disruptive innovation in healthcare has equipped patients with the ability to self-diagnosis themselves and doctors with the ability to treat patients more efficiently.

“The increasingly rapid change in the practice of medicine is because more physicians are collaborating and using new technologies,” Southam said.

Figueroa closed out the symposium, acknowledging a common theme of the day was passion – “Passion for an industry that is very honorable.”

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