Can’t We All Just Get Along? And Innovate?
In my role as editor, I get to meet a lot of experts, executives and other leaders,
but this past March I was at one of the most intimidating conferences I’ve ever
attended. The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) has been holding a series
of meetings called the National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation (NDHI)
since 2010. This one was at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. I walked into a
room crammed with HLC members: CEOs from pharma, bio, device and health
insurance companies, hospital systems, academia, patient advocacy organizations –
the entire spectrum of our industry.
Around a giant conference table, led by Ceci Connolly, managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’
Health Research Institute, they discussed the most pressing issues that affect innovation in outcomes,
quality, cost and all the other aspects of healthcare that we’re wrestling with. There seemed to be agreement
on one vital point: the American health care system raises too many obstacles that discourage innovation
and undermine properly priced, quality care for patients.
Ms. Connolly tossed a list of challenging questions at them. How do we define value? How can we develop
consensus around it? How do current payment models affect innovation? What are the “promising
practices” that payers and regulators advocate for in promoting innovation? What are the roles for
government and the private sector? What are the barriers – real and perceived – to innovation from the
point of view of healthcare sectors, government and, most importantly, patient perspectives?
To provide a definition of the scope of the problem, ZS Associates had conducted a qualitative research
project that informed the summit and Ms. Connolly’s questions. The aim of this effort is to build
consensus on health care payment and delivery approaches that encourage innovation, while achieving
cost stability and sustainability.
The barriers to innovation are what make it nearly impossible to assess the value of a health care
intervention (e.g., surgery, a drug or a treatment decision). With the data available to us – considering
that we have at our disposal the most sophisticated analytical tools ever – we should be able to identify the
problem areas and deal with them more effectively. But that hasn’t happened yet, and the HLC hopes to
contribute to the solution with its NDHI series.
Letter from the Editor
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