COVID-19 may be canceling events left and right, but Health Rosetta’s annual summit managed to go on through the magic of virtual conferencing. I for one am very glad the team at Health Rosetta found a way to host their event, because I was inspired and informed by many of the sessions and their speakers. I learned a lot over the course of three days, but there are four main points that really stuck with me even after the videos ended.
Takeaway 1: The Future of Healthcare is LOCAL
It’s hard for one of the themes of a summit to not stick with you, but Dave Chase’s LOCAL acronym really did drive the main point of not only the event, but also the point of many healthcare reforms needed to create a better system.
In one of his talks, Dave Chase said, “Focusing on local unveils intrinsic values. By reducing scale, solutions can appear to problems that seemed impossible at a global scale.”
This also goes back to Dave’s point that the fixes for healthcare already exist, they’re just not being implemented. There are many healthcare changes that can start at a local level, rather than a state or even national level. When done on a smaller scale, they have a higher chance of success and can prove valuable enough to be adopted more broadly. I got to see examples of this throughout the summit, such as how Marilyn Bartlett saved the state of Montana millions in healthcare costs through her innovative state employee health plan that used alternative healthcare practices such as reference-based pricing.
Takeaway 2: Patient Engagement and Patient Empowerment Need to be Developed
Dave deBronkart’s talk was not only educational, but also very inspiring. If you don’t know his story about beating a very aggressive cancer over ten years ago, I'd recommend reading up on him.
One of the ways Dave was able to beat cancer was through his E Patient community. An E Patient is one that is equipped, engaged, empowered, and enabled. The movement was brought on with the rise of the internet, where patients could share information with each other. When patients are educated about their health, they are more equipped and empowered to be active participants in their health.
When patient activation levels increase, outcomes improve and costs go down.— The Karis Group (@KarisGroup) August 7, 2020
Healthcare can improve through patient engagement, and that starts with providers and other healthcare professionals giving clear information and the right tools to their patients. Providers should not be so quick to say "patients won't get it" and patients need to be willing to use the information given to them to be active participants in their health.
Takeaway 3: Employers Have a Responsibility to Help their Employees “Move Upstream”
Dr. Rishi Manchanda’s talk, “Moving Upstream” was definitely one of my favorites.
Dr. Manchanda referenced food insecurity as an example of a social need and food deserts as an example of community-level social determinants. Nutrition has a huge impact on health, and in communities where there is little to no access to healthy, affordable foods are communities with people living in food deserts. This can lead to all kinds of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, a poorer quality of life, and more.
In this talk, the concept to move upstream was mainly targeted at employers and how they can address the individual social needs of their employees, community-level social determinants in their areas, and structural determinants of health.
Businesses have resources and power, even if it’s only enough to individually help their employees through health screening programs, or supporting local resources (like food banks) that still help a business' employees.
“The default should be to address the social needs if you’re a good business. Social needs are things we can control, and employers can absolutely address these.” - Dr. Manchanda.
Takeaway 4: Hospital Reform Starts with Radical Transparency
I really enjoyed this talk, and specifically the example of how fire stations operate and what hospitals could learn from them.
We need hospitals for crises, but hospitals systems all across the nation have sub-par outcomes. This talk, “Relocalizing Health Care Delivery: Reinventing & Open Sourcing Hospitals in a Post-COVID Era” with Shawn Strash and Dave Chase, outlined how transparency in hospitals could deliver better outcomes and cost far less.
Some of the solutions outlined were: extreme transparency about sentinel events, access to academic studies, shifting from a blaming and cloaking culture to a root cause analysis culture so issues actually get addressed, and redefining community benefits such as properly utilizing community health workers.
There were several other great talks and ideas shared throughout the summit, but these were the four that stuck out to me as actions employers, healthcare businesses/systems, and individuals can start utilizing now to change healthcare for the better.