Key Takeaways from HLTH

Last week over 6,000 attendees primarily in the healthcare space descended on Las Vegas for the second annual HLTH show. It’s safe to say that HLTH is here to stay and has made quite a splash in the healthcare event space. HealthEdge attended the event again this year to hear from leaders in the industry and from other verticals about the march forward with healthcare transformation. Below are our key takeaways.

Data just doesn’t move across the healthcare landscape – Several speakers acknowledged the richness of claims data and lamented the lack of sharing and analysis to mine key insights.  Instead of just focusing on payments, claims data can be used for good, said Emad Rizk, the CEO of Cotiviti. Blue Button was cited by several speakers as a universal “translator” for key data, that could reveal information for proactive interventions.  It was stated that every insurance company with a Medicare line of business connects to Blue Button. Government officials from Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also talked about the quest for interoperability, but ultimately stakeholders must commit to operating outside of their traditional silos and put outcomes first.  Greg Simon, former President of the Biden Cancer Moonshot and currently interim CEO at Med Mergent, told of his own diagnosis of leukemia, received while disembarking from an airplane by his doctor, whom Simon had decided to call four days after a physical, having not heard from his PCP regarding test results.  Simon compared the movement of data to how the old Pony Express delivering a letter.

Reaching the Most Vulnerable – Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, addressed food insecurity among the homeless.  Tyson talked about “total health” of the individual, which goes beyond medical conditions.  Other speakers spoke about the well understood fact that 85% of healthcare costs are attributed to 15% of the total U.S. population.  Behavioral health was cited multiple times as something handled separately and outside of traditional medicine, even though the opioid crisis and suicide are in fact bringing down life expectancy in the U.S. Lyft was a major sponsor of HLTH and highlighted the importance of transportation in linking consumers with services.  And over and over, speakers emphasized that all healthcare is local, from hospitals and clinics, to individual providers, and community-based organizations that knit together the fabric of so many lives.

Access, Affordability and Transparency – Mark Ganz, the CEO of Cambia Health Solutions, told the story of his brother falling down a flight of stairs and suffering serious injuries.  The difficult journey of navigating his brother’s insurance coverage (he turned 65 while in the hospital) highlighted the complexity of our healthcare system.  Ganz also talked about the plight of caregivers, who silently make untold sacrifices to tend to relatives and friends, without compensation or recognition.  Ganz talked about the importance of providing consumers what they want and what they need – a change of focus from today’s healthcare. He appealed for convenient and quality care, and a shift in priorities to allow consumers to obtain the care they need.  On the flip side, Katie Mahoney, the Vice President for Health Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argued strongly against the recent executive order for hospitals to provide the negotiated, contracted rate (with payers) for services, to consumers within 24 hours.  She stated that it violates business law to expose the negotiated rate and asked for a different approach to price transparency.

Retailers Expanding into Healthcare – Retailers have access to millions of consumers, and many are looking at healthcare services as another way to expand those touchpoints, with a notable example of this in Walmart, which has established a Walmart Health Center as a showcase in Dallas, Georgia.  The center has state-of-the-art facilities for virtually every outpatient service, including medical, dental, vision, behavioral health and more.  Marcus Osborne, the Vice President of Health Transformation, took the audience on a virtual tour with photos and video.  He stated that the driving forces behind this initiative are cost, convenience and care.  The big takeaway was a vertically integrated set of services in one location, in the middle of a community. Similarly, CVS CEO, Larry Merlo showed pictures of CVS’s new Health Hub centers, which expand beyond the traditional retail store and beyond Minute Clinics, to offer integrated health services.  His points were: Be local. Simplify access to healthcare. Make healthcare part of everyday living, not just crisis or sickness oriented. Offer “best health” which will result in lower overall costs.  And serve as a complement to the PCP.

HealthEdge is excited for what 2020 has in store after hearing about fantastic new opportunities and ideas coming from all walks of the healthcare space. The HLTH conference is the new event to see and be seen for next-generation, innovative technology companies like HealthEdge who work with health plans on the front-lines of changing what has inherently been broken in healthcare.

Don’t miss our on-demand webinar featuring HLTH Chief Transformation Officer discussing everything Social Determinants of Health.

HealthEdge joins the entire healthcare community in mourning the sudden passing of Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, on November 10th.  He was a true titan of our industry and will be missed.