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A New World of Bundled Payments is Upon Us: Are Hospitals Ready?

November 1, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A value-based care expert says the world of bundled payments is here to stay and hospitals must be open to participation

In July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continued its bold endeavor into the world of value-based healthcare with an announcement that introduced a mandatory bundled payment for care for heart attacks and for cardiac bypass surgery.

As reported by Healthcare Informatics at the time of the announcement, from HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the proposal contains three new significant policies:

  • New bundled payment models for cardiac care and an extension of the existing bundled payment model for hip replacements to other hip surgeries;
  • A new model to increase cardiac rehabilitation utilization; and
  • A proposed pathway for physicians with significant participation in bundled payment models to qualify for payment incentives under the proposed Quality Payment Program, within the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

Indeed, the July 25 announcement of the mandatory bundled payment program for heart attack care and for cardiac bypass surgery stated, “The hospital in which a Medicare patient is admitted for care for a heart attack or bypass surgery would be accountable for the cost and quality of care provided to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries during the inpatient stay and for 90 days after discharge. The proposed cardiac care policies would be phased in over a period of five years, but would begin July 1, 2017 for hospitals located in the 98 metro areas participating in the model (about one-quarter of all metro areas in the nation).” These new bundled payment models for cardiac care, in addition to the extension of the existing bundled payment model for hip replacements to other hip surgeries, are yet another major step in forcing reimbursement forward into value-based purchasing.

This new initiative followed a declaration of mandatory bundled payments for total hip and knee replacement procedures, which was imposed on providers in 67 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) just last November. As such, one signal from federal healthcare leaders has become increasingly clear: the shifting of Medicare payments from fee-for-service to alternative payment models. Coming just as the aforementioned Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) initiative gets underway, the new models are, according to HHS, intended to reward hospitals that work together with physicians and other providers to avoid complications, prevent hospital readmissions, and speed recovery.

But a key question is, are the hospitals ready to comply? Joel Splan, former director of information services, chief security executive and director of technology and infrastructure management at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare in Chicago, and current CEO of PinPointCare, also a Chicago-based company, which develops technology to aide with care coordination, says hospitals will face several challenges in this new world of bundled payments. Splan, who not long ago ran two companies simultaneously that were in the value-based care vendor space, says that while fee-for-service has its benefits, it “has gone astray, and value-based care can help straighten that out to help healthcare become a more sustainable sector.” More excerpts of the discussion between Splan and Healthcare Informatics can be read below.

What was your reaction to the proposed new models that expand mandatory participation in bundled payments?

Well, I am excited since I am in the business. When the CJR mandatory bundled payment model was announced last July, that was exciting because everyone was feeling the downward [shift] from the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement [BPCI] initiative, and was wondering what was next. People were too excited though; what people thought would be a bull rush into CJR was more of a slow trickle. For organizations trying to help providers with value-based care, they thought there would be all this activity due to the penalties that would be in place, but providers haven’t really latched onto it. In some cases with large academic organizations, you’re talking about a million bucks here or there, and I just don’t know if it has hit their radar.

But with the cardiac announcement this summer, we’re seeing a decided shift into the amount of attention that people are paying to value-based care and bundles. Cardiac [surgery] isn’t something you can opt out of or send these procedures down the street; you’ll have to deal with them as part of your business. Now, as far as the urgency level? We think it will take more time to play out but it’s here [to stay] and will expand.

Some skeptics say there should be more room for negotiation within these models, as hospitals under Medicare have relied on cardiac care and total joint replacement procedures as revenue “cushions.”

Well, I would say there is always an argument to be made around the particulars, the timing, and the pooling. You have an opportunity to get out there and voice an opinion, but when the ruling comes in the most important thing you can do is jump in with both feet. Right now, your pricing is primarily being dictated by your past performance, which may be good or bad, but the smaller fraction is based on your geography or your peers’ geography. That percentage will only increase, and the longer you wait, the more your pricing will be dictated by your competitors. So if you haven’t started yet, you are probably behind.

How are hospitals you are working with reacting to these mandates?

They are taking a wait-and-see approach. You have an election coming up, so there are many different pressures hospitals have. I have real empathy for them. I understand that right now, fee-for-service is working for them, and at the same time value-based care is a little bit of a distraction, even though it could become something beneficial for them down the road. There are just so many things on hospitals’ plates, so “wait-and-see” is a prudent approach for many of them. As a technology provider in this space, you just have to deal with that.

What is their level of readiness to participate in the world of bundled payments?

The level of readiness here is weak. There are a couple ways to tackle the problem of patients who are you accountable for being outside your acute care facility’s four walls. One is that you can buy up all of those post-acute care providers and try to force your patients into those venues. That will never work. In a world of choice and consumerism, people will want to make their own choices, as they should. You won’t be able to control where a patient goes, so you need data and analytics regardless of where they go.

You need to understand how they are performing to plan, and that’s where technology has to step in and fill that void. No matter where the patient goes, even if it’s outside of your network, you need information on how they are performing, you need to communicate with them, and you need to set expectations. Companies that have entered this space are helping, as the EHRs [electronic health records] have not done the job. They are too expensive and time consuming to put an entire region like Chicago on the EHR of its choice, whatever that may be.

How challenging is it that hospitals still have their feet in both buckets—the fee-for-service one and the value-based care one?

The shift is starting, but you are turning an entire revenue system away from charge-based accounting toward cost-based accounting. That’s not easy and the hardest part is you will be in this blended world for a period of time where value-based care is growing and fee-for-service is contracting, but you are in both worlds for now, and maybe forever. This is cause for a lot of the frustration for providers; they have some patients to worry about in the cost-based world of ACOs [accountable care organizations] and bundled payments, and then they have traditional fee-for-service, and they have to figure out who gets paid for all of these things. That’s a whole lot of complexity. 

So what are the specific kinds of analytics that organizations should be leveraging?

For the organization still getting started in bundled payments, the first thing is asking yourself where your patients are going. That can be hard to get your arms around at times. Second, how well are they being taken care of in those places? In the fee-for-service world, you take care of a patient and he or she gets discharged, walks out the door, and you don’t worry about that person anymore. But it’s not like that anymore, so getting data and analytics around patients’ post-acute care and direct-to-home is an important part of this. That portion of the episode has long been ignored, but now it’s the critical piece. You need to control that post-acute spend for the orthopedics mandate and for the cardiac mandate, you need to control readmissions. So it’s all about outside of the four walls now.

Do you have any insight into why these specific metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) were selected for participation?

For the 67 MSAs in the CJR initiative, I know that it was not random. Areas that had not engaged in the BPCI pilot, and areas where Medicare was a little concerned about some of the physician billing, were selected. They wanted to target these areas and tell them that they cannot hide on this. As far as the 98 MSAs for the cardiac initiative, I’m not as sure, but I imagine it was somewhat of the same idea.

Total healthcare spending is expected to rise to $5.6 trillion by 2025. Is it fair to say that this world of accountable care and value-based care will be the one that providers will need to be a part of moving forward?

Medicare is going broke. If they were to save $1 per patient I am sure they would do it. The message here is that while you may not like it, CMS has already made the move. They are the first domino, and commercial payers will follow; everyone will just have to get used to it. It’s the right thing to do, and beyond helping with Medicare, think about the cascading effect. With bundled payments, you are making providers more efficient, but those margins are going to spill over into pharmaceuticals, into devices, and every area in healthcare will become more cost efficient because it will roll up into a bundled payment. Those extra costs will be a huge ancillary benefit to the system as a whole.

So what’s next for hospitals under these new mandates? What advice can you offer?

The first thing is socializing some of these concepts and getting doctors up to speed. Value-based care is such a different world for a hospital; it’s not something you can just walk in one day and say, this is what we’re going to do, here’s the technology. These are revolutionary concepts that will fundamentally change how hospitals will get paid. It starts at the top and you need urgency around it. And you have to start talking to the post-acute networks and get those people engaged. With the readmission penalties, that’s a weak spot.

Overall, the more progressive the organization is in terms of thinking about the future and the more open they are to bundled payments, being part of a pilot, or accepting the mandate, the better. There doesn’t need to be as much fear and anxiety as there seems to be. If you get in early you will probably get the lion’s share of the benefits.


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CMS: 93% of Clinicians Get Positive Payment Adjustments for MIPS Year 1

November 8, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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Ninety-three percent of MIPS (Merit-based Incentive Payment System)-eligible clinicians received a positive payment adjustment for their performance in 2017, and 95 percent overall avoided a negative payment adjustment, according to a CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) announcement today.

The first year of MIPS under MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) was dubbed by CMS as a “pick your pace year,” which essentially enabled clinicians to avoid payment penalties as long as they submitted at least the minimum amount of quality data. As such, in its announcement, CMS did admit that the overall performance threshold for MIPS was established at a relatively low level of three points, and the availability of “pick your pace” provided participation flexibility through three reporting options for clinicians: “test”, partial year, or full-year reporting.

CMS said that 93 percent of MIPS-eligible clinicians received a positive payment adjustment for their performance in 2017, and 95 percent overall avoided a negative payment adjustment. CMS specifically calculated that approximately 1.06 million MIPS-eligible clinicians in total will receive a MIPS payment adjustment, either positive, neutral, or negative. The payment adjustments for the 2017 program year get reflected in 2019.

Breaking down the 93 percent of participants that received a positive payment adjustment last year, 71 percent earned a positive payment adjustment and an adjustment for exceptional performance, while 22 percent earned a positive payment adjustment only. Meanwhile, just 5 percent of MIPS-eligible clinicians received a negative payment adjustment, and 2 percent received a neutral adjustment (no increase or decrease).

Of the total population, just over one million MIPS-eligible clinicians reported data as either an individual, as a part of a group, or through an Alternative Payment Model (APM), and received a neutral payment adjustment or better. Additionally, under the Advanced APM track, just more than 99,000 eligible clinicians earned Qualifying APM Participant (QP) status, according to the CMS data.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma noted on the first pick-your-pace year of the QPP, “This measured approach allowed more clinicians to successfully participate, which led to many clinicians exceeding the performance threshold and a wider distribution of positive payment adjustments. We expect that the gradual increases in the performance thresholds in future program years will create an evolving distribution of payment adjustments for high performing clinicians who continue to invest in improving quality and outcomes for beneficiaries.”

For 2018, the second year of the QPP, CMS raised the stakes for those participating clinicians. And in the third year of the program, set to start in January 2019, a final rule was just published with year three requirements. Undoubtedly, as time passes, eligible clinicians will be asked for greater participation at higher levels. At the same time, CMS continues to exempt certain clinicians who don’t meet a low-volume Medicare threshold.

Earlier this year, CMS said that 91 percent of all MIPS-eligible clinicians participated in the first year of the QPP, exceeding the agency’s internal goal.

What’s more, from a scoring perspective in 2017, the overall national mean score for MIPS-eligible clinicians was 74.01 points, and the national median was 88.97 points, on a 0 to 100 scale. Further breaking down the mean and median:

  • Clinicians participating in MIPS as individuals or groups (and not through an APM) received a mean score of 65.71 points and a median score of 83.04 points
  • Clinicians participating in MIPS through an APM received a mean score of 87.64 points and a median score of 91.67 points

Additionally, clinicians in small and rural practices who were not in APMs and who chose to participate in MIPS also performed well, CMS noted. On average, MIPS eligible clinicians in rural practices earned a mean score of 63.08 points, while clinicians in small practices received a mean score of 43.46 points.

Said Verma, “While we understand that challenges remain for clinicians in small practices, these results suggest that these clinicians and those in rural practices can successfully participate in the program. With these mean scores, clinicians in small and rural practices would still receive a neutral or positive payment adjustment for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 performance years due to the relatively modest performance thresholds that we have established. We will also continue to directly support these clinicians now and in future years of the program.”

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HHS Secretary Azar: HHS Is Planning New Mandatory Bundled Payment Models

November 8, 2018
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is revisiting mandatory bundled payment models, possibly for radiation oncology and cardiac care, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, which signals a strong about-face in the Trump Administration’s policy about bundled payment initiatives.

HHS is reexamining the role that mandatory bundled payment models can play in the transition to value-based care, Azar said in a keynote speech at the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative Conference on Thursday. HHS published Azar’s comments.

In the published remarks, Azar said the Trump Administration is revisiting mandatory bundled payments and exploring new voluntary bundled payments as part of the Administration’s goal of paying for outcomes, rather than process.

“We need results, American patients need change, and when we need mandatory models to deliver it, mandatory models are going to see a comeback,” Azar said.

In his speech, Azar said, “Imagine a system where physicians and other providers only had to worry about the outcome, rather than worrying about their staffing ratios and the individual reimbursements for every procedure they do and every drug they prescribe. That kind of payment system would radically reorient power in our healthcare system—away from the federal government and back to those closest to the patient.”

He continued, “One way we can do that is through bundling payments, rather than paying for every individual service. This is an area where you have already seen testing from CMMI for several years now—and I want to let you know today that you are going to see a lot more such ideas in the future.”

Azar highlighted the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI), which, he said, has shown significant savings in several common inpatient episodes, including joint replacement and pneumonia.

During his speech on Thursday, Azar said, “I want to share with all of you for the first time today: We intend to revisit some of the episodic cardiac models that we pulled back, and are actively exploring new and improved episode-based models in other areas, including radiation oncology. We’re also actively looking at ways to build on the lessons and successes of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement model.

“We’re not going to stop there: We will use all avenues available to us—including mandatory and voluntary episode-based payment models,” he said.

One industry group, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), already has voiced concerns about a mandatory payment model. In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Laura Thevenot, CEO of ASTRO, made it clear that the organizaiton strongly supports a radiation oncology alternative payment model (RO-APM). "ASTRO has worked for many years to craft a viable payment model that would stabilize payments, drive adherence to nationally-recognized clinical guidelines and improve patient care. ASTRO believes its proposed RO-APM will allow radiation oncologists to participate fully in the transition to value-based care that both improves cancer outcomes and reduces costs."

Thevenot said ASTRO has aggressively pursued adoption of this proposed model with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). However, Thevenot said the group has concerns "about the possibility of launching a model that requires mandatory participation from all radiation oncology practices at the outset."

Further, Thevenot said any radiation oncology payment model will represent "a significant departure from the status quo." "Care must be taken to protect access to treatments for all radiation oncology patients and not disadvantage certain types of practices, particularly given the very high fixed costs of running a radiation oncology clinic," Thevenot stated.

Back in January, CMS announced the launch of the voluntary BPCI Advanced model, noting that it “builds on the earlier success of bundled payment models and is an important step in the move away from fee-for-service and towards paying for value.” The BPCI Advanced model includes more than 1,000 participants that are receiving episode-based payments for over 30 clinical areas, Azar said.

“BPCI Advanced is a voluntary model, where potential participants can select whether they want to join. But we’re not going to stick to voluntary models. Real experimentation with episodic bundles requires a willingness to try mandatory models. We know they are the most effective way to know whether these bundles can successfully save money and improve quality,” Azar said.

The Obama Administration introduced mandatory bundled payment for care for heart attacks and for cardiac bypass surgery in July 2016.

In the past, CMS Administrator Seema Verma has said that she does not support making bundled payments mandatory, and former HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. had strongly opposed mandatory bundles, going so far as to direct the end of two mandatory bundled payment programs—one existing and one previously announced. In November 2017, CMS finalized a rule, proposed in August 2017, that cancelled mandatory hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment models.

As per that final rule, CMS also scaled back the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (CJR), specifically reducing the number of mandatory geographic areas participating in CJR from 67 areas to 34 areas. And, in an effort to address the unique needs of rural providers, the federal agency also made participation voluntary for all low-volume and rural hospitals participating in the model in all 67 geographic areas.

On Thursday, Azar acknowledged that his statements signaled HHS was reversing course on its previous stance, noting that last year the administration reduced the size of the CJR model and pulled back the other episode payment models, including those on cardiac care, before they could launch.

Azar, who was confirmed as HHS Secretary earlier this year, signaled early on that he diverged from Verma and Price on his views about mandatory bundled payments. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing in January on his nomination for HHS Secretary, he said, on the topic of CMMI [the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation] pilot programs, “I believe that we need to be able to test hypotheses, and if we have to test a hypothesis, I want to be a reliable partner, I want to be collaborative in doing this, I want to be transparent, and follow appropriate procedures; but if to test a hypothesis there around changing our healthcare system, it needs to be mandatory there as opposed to voluntary, then so be it.”

During his speech Thursday, Azar pointed to the Administration’s first mandatory model, which was unveiled two weeks ago, called the International Pricing Index (IPI) Model for payments for Part B drugs. Azar said the model is a “mandatory model that will help address the inequity between what the U.S. and other countries pay for many costly drugs.”

Further, Azar said CMMI also will launch new primary care payment models before the end of the year, with the aim of introducing a spectrum of risk for primary care providers, Azar said.

“Before the end of this year, you will see new payment models coming forth from CMMI that will give primary care physicians more flexibility in how they care for their patients, while offering them significant rewards for successfully keeping them healthy and out of the hospital,” he said.

“Different sizes and types of practices can take on different levels of risk. As many of you know, even smaller practices want to be, and can be, compensated based on their patients’ outcomes,” he said. “We want to incentivize that, with a spectrum of flexibility, too: The more risk you are willing to take on, the less we’re going to micromanage your work.”

Azar also noted HHS’ efforts to examine impediments to care coordination, such as examining the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, HIPAA, and 42 CFR Part 2. CMS has already launched and concluded a request for information on the Stark Law, and the Office of the Inspector General has done the same on the Anti-Kickback Statute, he noted.

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Heartening Speech at CHIME18 Should Inspire U.S. Healthcare Leaders

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The story of an Amazonian tribe could serve as a motivational lesson for U.S. healthcare stakeholders

It was inspiring to hear Sanjay Gupta, M.D., the well-known neurosurgeon and medical reporter, give the closing keynote at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) 2018 Fall CIO Forum in San Diego last week. Dr. Gupta, who serves as associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, while also best known as CNN's multiple Emmy Award-winning chief medical correspondent, discussed the fascinating balance that he strikes between medicine and media.

“Oftentimes, I see people at their best, and sometimes at their worst. I get to travel the world, where I learn so much, but also teach others. Sometimes the dance between medicine and media can be awkward and emotionally challenging. But almost always, the stories we do have a significant impact,” Gupta told the Fall CIO Forum attendees.

What was perhaps most captivating about Gupta’s speech was when he spoke about visiting a primitive Amazonian tribe that appears to have the best heart health in the world. The Tsimane people of Bolivia do not speak a language, live a simple existence, and are disease-free, explained Gupta. So he went to visit the tribe with the goal to understand its lifestyle and what led to its members having such healthy hearts.  

Sanjay Gupta, M.D.

“I went spearfishing with one [tribe member], who thought he was 84-years-old, but he really didn’t know for sure. His shirt was off, and he was ripped, balancing himself on the canoe, just looking at the water, spearing fish. His eyesight was perfect. The entire indigenous tribe was just like this,” Gupta recalled.

After examining the Tsimane tribe’s diet, Gupta noted it was a hunter-gatherer society, meaning there was nothing technological. “The most mechanical thing I saw was a pulley for the well,” he said. Seventy percent of what they eat is carbohydrates—unrefined and unprocessed—while 15 percent of their diet is protein, and 15 percent fat, he added. “You need farmed food because oftentimes you don’t have successful hunting days, so the farmed food was the food in the bank. And they would do intermitting fasting, too. These are the people with the healthiest hearts in the world,” Gupta exclaimed.

When it comes to activity, when hunters are hunting, they’re never outrunning their prey, but rather outlasting it, noted Gupta. “We found that they walked about 17,000 steps per day. But they didn’t run; they only walked. They are active, but not intensively active. They also hardly every sit—they are either lying or standing all the time. And they would get nine hours of sleep per night, waking up to the rooster’s crow. There are no devices. Again, these are the people who have the healthiest hearts in world. They don’t have a healthcare system and don’t spend a dollar on healthcare,” Gupta stated.

What’s even more interesting about this tribe is that each of its members lives with some degree of a parasitic infection, which they usually get it early in life, have a few days of illness, and then just live with these parasites in their bodies for their entire lives. “The belief is that so much of the disease we talk about—that leads to this $3.3 trillion price tag [the total cost of U.S. healthcare spending in 2016]—is actually ignited or worsened by our immune systems. So the parasitic infections could be part of the reason they are protected from all types of diseases,” Gupta offered.

Essentially, it’s living this basic, undeveloped life that “inadvertently provides them extraordinary protection against heart disease,” noted a report in HealthDay last year. “Thanks to their unique lifestyle, most Tsimane [members] have arteries unclogged by the cholesterol plaques that drastically increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in modern Americans,” Gregory Thomas, M.D., medical director of the Memorial Care Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial, in California, said in that report.

Tsimane tribe (source: University of New Mexico)

You might be asking what the story of the Tsimane tribe has to do with U.S. healthcare since its lifestyle would obviously never be replicated in a developed country. And while that is true, it’s tough to ignore the $1 billion per day that our healthcare system spends on heart disease—compared to the Tsimane tribe that doesn’t spend a single dime, yet has the healthiest hearts in the world.

In this sense, perhaps we can use the Tsimane story to push ourselves to develop a greater understanding of why we spend so much money on healthcare and don’t have the results to show for it. Gupta asked this $3.3 trillion-dollar question in his speech—why does healthcare in the U.S. cost so much and what do we get in return?

“If you look at the statistics, it’s not impressive. More people die from preventable disease in the U.S. than in 12 other nations. People live longer in 30 other countries compared to the U.S.—including places like Chile and Costa Rica. We still have tens of millions of people who don’t have access, and we still spend all this money on healthcare. Why?” he asked.

Gupta explained that the nation’s high healthcare costs come down to the following: high administrative costs, technology, new drugs and development, and the cost of chronic disease—the last which is incredibly self-inflicted. About 70 to 80 percent of chronic disease is self-preventable, he said.

Indeed, as most of us know, about 5 percent of the U.S. population accounts for 50 percent of the healthcare costs. These are folks who are defined by illness, not by health, Gupta stated. This is why the modern-day healthcare system has proactively taken to targeting that 5 percent to improve their chances of preventing disease and staying healthy. “Data shows that home visits, nutritional counseling, one-on-one coaching, and diligent follow-up care can go a long way in preventing someone from getting sick in the first place, and from turning a disease into something more chronic. Some of these interventions can actually reverse disease. The die is not cast,” Gupta said.

For me, Gupta’s keynote highlighted the need for efforts around value-based care, care management, and population health to be intensified. A big part of that, as noted in the speech, is addressing patients’ social and environmental factors. It’s not at all surprising to see studies such as this one from earlier this year, conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health, Tampa, and WellCare Health Plans, and published in Population Health Management, which found that healthcare spending is substantially reduced when people are successfully connected to social services that address social barriers, or social determinants of health, such as secure housing, medical transportation, healthy food programs, and utility and financial assistance.

And with that, there is also an enormous opportunity for data and IT to play a role. Information sharing, so that providers have access to the right information at the point of care—no matter where the patient is—will be critical to reducing unnecessary costs. As will the robust use of data analytics, so that patient care organizations can be proactive in predicting which patients are at highest risk, when they might need services, and how to intervene at the appropriate time.

But to this point, Gupta, who noted that our society can get too caught up in high-tech, also suggested that “medicine seems to play by slightly different rules when it comes to innovation as opposed to other sectors. Sometimes, innovation moves painstakingly slow in respect to medicine.” At the end of the day, he said, it will be “the innovations that make us, [as a society], healthier, happier, and connect us in frictionless ways, that will be the biggest winners.”

So, will the U.S. population suddenly turn off their iPhone alarms, wake up to the rooster’s crow, and become a hunter-gatherer society? No, I would say that’s quite unlikely to happen. But hearing stories such as the one of the Tsimane tribe might just serve as good enough motivation to bring down the astronomical and unsustainable costs of U.S. healthcare.

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