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Premier Looks at Prospects for the Provider-Sponsored Health Plan Proposition

October 31, 2016
by Mark Hagland
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Premier’s Joe Damore analyzes the prospects for provider-sponsored health plans

At a time when many patient care organizations are leaping full-bore into alternative payment models (APMs) such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other arrangements, the path forward into provider-sponsored health plans is turning out to be rocky for many. That’s the bottom line in terms of findings from a nationwide survey of patient care organization leaders conducted by the Charlotte-based Premier Inc.

Among the key findings of the survey, whose results were released earlier this month, are the following:

>  Interest in provider-owned health plans: 68 percent of C-suite leaders surveyed are interested in starting their own health plan or working with an already-established provider-owned health plan rather than continuing to wait for commercial payers to develop and implement value-based arrangements.

>  Providers taking on all risk, payers reaping the rewards: Only 28 percent of healthcare C-suite leaders reported their health systems participate in shared savings contracts with commercial payers, despite the fact that providers are 100-percent accountable for moving the needle on improving quality and reducing costs in order to receive maximum reimbursement through Medicare pay-for-performance plans.

>  Limited investment from insurers: Only 13 percent of respondents report shared investment in electronic health record (EHR) infrastructure, even though expanding these systems could help integrate and improve care across the continuum, as well as enhance preventive and chronic care management programs.

>  The survey found limited collaboration with commercial payers in terms of regular updates on efficiency and quality performance to increase transparency (30 percent); sharing claims data to better manage the cost, quality and coordination of care (22 percent); and joint goals and measures of success (30 percent) to align the payers and delivery systems.

Shortly after the survey’s findings were released, Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland spoke with Joe Damore, vice president of population health management at Premier, who is based in the organization’s Washington, D.C. office. Below are excerpts from their interview.

When you look at the main results from the survey, what does the landscape around this look like for you?

This area is really important to health systems for a number of reasons. The first one is that, because of MACRA [the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015]. The MACRA requirements around being able to participate in alternative payment models shift over time. In order to qualify for the 5-percent bonus, 25 percent of revenues have to come from APMs; that shifts in 2021 so that 25 percent of your FFS revenues have to come through APMs. So health systems are trying to plan ahead around what they’re doing on the commercial side as well. The second reason this is important is around spreading out your costs, such as IT implementation and care management, and patient-centered medical homes. All of your costs have to be spread across a larger volume of population, not just Medicare. The third reason is that as you implement value-based payment, what we find the tipping point to be is at 25 percent of your revenues coming from value-based payments, that’s when physicians really change their behaviors.

Joe Damore

The fourth reason is that if you don’t shift forward in your commercial contracts, you could be in trouble. If I set up a Medicare ACO and a Medicaid ACO, I’ll end up setting up care management for all my patients, and if I don’t have a value-based contract with my commercial payers, they end up getting 100 percent of the savings, and I end up with zero. So providers are frustrated with commercial payers. Some commercial payers are moving too slowly, which is why providers are developing their own plans. Some are moving faster: Aetna is moving faster than nationally; some Blue Cross plans, as in Massachusetts, are moving forward. But in other markets, where you have a dominant player with 70 percent or more of the market, they’re proving very slow to change. Alabama Blue Cross, which has 80 percent of the commercial market in that state, has been very slow to change. So I’ve found that the dominant players in health insurance markets have been the slowest to implement value-based payment arrangements.

So providers that don’t already have their own health plans are becoming interested, then?

Well, the large health systems are starting their own plans, for two reasons. One, they’re seeing very slow movement from some of the commercial payers. Two, if you own your own health plan, you’re going to get 100 percent of your shared savings, not 50 percent.

So how has the landscape changed around the provider-sponsored plan proposition recently?

Number one, I think we have better information systems than we had in 1995. And two, the single largest payer in the United States, Medicare, is moving pretty aggressively towards value-based payment across the country. In contrast to in the 1990s, where if there was not a movement towards managed care in your market, you could pretty much avoid this. But you can’t now; Medicare is the single largest payer in U.S. healthcare, with 55 million people; and this is not going to go away. We believe that, regardless of the outcome of the election, we are going to stay on the path of value-based payment, because there is no other choice to build predictability and control the flow of healthcare delivery, for the federal government, other than this. Putting people into population health care management and care management, works. That’s not being debated. So this model of value-based care is moving forward. The train has left the station, and is not going back to the station. And the speed of change is accelerating. And with the MACRA vote, 92 to 8, both political parties clearly believe …..

Physicians are realizing, in contrast to the 1990s, that the landscape is changing, correct?

Yes, absolutely. And why are physician attitudes changing? Because Medicare is changing. And physicians can either drop Medicare or retire. And also, over 50 percent of the physicians today are employed by somebody. And they don’t want to deal with the bureaucracy and all these Medicare rules, so that they can let someone else deal with all this. Also, the culture of physicians under the age of 35—they really look at being a physician as being much more of a nine-to-five job rather than something else. So all those factors have really contributed to a change in general in the physician culture.

And also, what has changed in terms of working with the data, from 15 years ago?

I ran a provider-sponsored health plan 15 years ago—and I would say that the data systems today are much more advanced than 15 years ago, especially in terms of claims analytics. Now, is it perfect? No. But it’s pretty darned good compared to 15 years ago. Taking claims data and being able to identify who your high-risk patients, you couldn’t really do that 15 years ago, and now you can, and that’s really helped us.

Now, the next step of course is taking that claims data and being able to drill down and provide physicians, in real time, with data to show how they’re doing in comparison with their peers and in comparison with best practices in terms of managing their patients. That’s the next generation—that’s what everyone’s hoping to get to. And we’ll get there. We can identify the 5 percent of people in any population of people that usually account for 50 percent of the costs—I call that the 5/50 rule. And we can keep those people out of the hospital, out of skilled nursing, and care for them in their homes.

What about rising-risk people in any population? Is that the next frontier in terms of leveraging predictive analytics?

Yes, I agree that that’s the next frontier. And the level of accuracy in identifying those people right now is that the more advanced providers are able to forecast maybe two-thirds or three-quarters of those people, and while among the weaker health systems, maybe half. And when I travel around the country, I ask those very questions of the organizations we work with. How satisfied are you with the analytics tools? How well are you predicting those people? I think we’re better than we were, but we’re not anywhere near where we need to be.

What do CIOs and CMIOs need to do right now, in this context?

Number one, they do need to have a data analytics tool that will allow them to help that manage and to identify who are the high-risk patients, and then to put into place an approach to care management, to manage that 5 percent. We know there’s a return on investment for that 5 percent. We know that if we manage the population and manage them—whether it’s a diabetic or congestive heart failure patient—we know we’ll lower the use rate of the most expensive venues for care, and lower per capita costs. So they’ve got to do that. And number two, they’ve got to try to get that information back to practicing physicians, and to share with them how they compare with others. What was their average cost last year to care for a diabetic, and how did that compare with others’? Because if I’m keeping my diabetics’ hemoglobin a1c low enough, I’ll save a lot of money.

What percentage of provider-sponsored plans are doing well, in your view?

I think the newer ones are doing well, particularly those that are making a major commitment to managing populations. In the past, there was a vacillation over whether we were in the health system business or the insurance business. And if you lower utilization, it will hurt the revenue of your health system; but in today’s world, the organizations doing this really believe that they’re population health management organizations, and that their hospitals are really cost centers; that’s the mindshift.

Are you optimistic overall, about this journey into risk?

I am. I’ve been in healthcare for over 40 years; I was a CEO for 20 years of health plans. I think we’re on the right track in this country, for several reasons. We’re more and more becoming convinced that really, really good primary care and the patient-centered medical home are the basis of a good healthcare system. We haven’t been focused enough on that until recently, but we’re learning that now. And we’re learning that you really have to coordinate care across the continuum; no one got paid to do that until recently, and now they are. This is not an easy transition to make; it’s difficult, and is going to take a couple of decades, but I think we’re really on track.

Overall, what’s your guess as to what percentage of health systems will set up their own health plans?

When you look at the large ones, the multi-billion-dollar entities, I think it will be a healthy percentage, at least a third of them. But I don’t think the smaller ones have the scale to do that well. The organizations like Inova, like Texas health Resources, like Presbyterian health System in Albuquerque, have the resources to be successful.


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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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