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‘Disrupt’ Health Care to Get Better Value Care
Melina Kambitsi, Ph.D., Vice President, Business Development and Member Services, The Alliance
 
The term “disrupt” is often used to describe a development that changes the “normal” way we do business.

For example, online banking disrupted financial services. Buying books on Amazon.com disrupted the publishing world. “Streaming” music and movies disrupted the entertainment industry. The list goes on and on.

Today, many employers that self-fund their health benefits are working together in groups like The Alliance with the aim of disrupting health care to get more value for their health benefit spending.

What Needs Disrupting
Here at The Alliance, we recognize that the term “disrupt” can be misunderstood. Health care is made up of good people and good organizations who want to do the right thing and who provide care for people every day. We want their work to continue.

But there are parts of health care that need to be “disrupted.” Consider these four examples:
  • One-third of health care spending goes for unnecessary care – tests and treatments we don’t need or complications that could have been avoided.
  • More than 1,000 people in U.S. die every day because of preventable hospital errors, according to The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade website.
  • The U.S. spends nearly one-fifth of its gross domestic product on health care, more than $3 trillion a year. Yet Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, author of the bestseller “An American Sickness,” points out the U.S. health system “generally delivers worse health outcomes than any other developed country, all of which spend on average about half what we do per person.”
  • Combining the pieces of a medical episode – such as tests, surgery and physical therapy – into a bundled payment, can often create better health for the patient and increase savings for their employer.
Taking Back Health Care
Rosenthal is coming to Madison on May 17 to speak about “Diagnosing an American Sickness: What Employers and Patients Can Do to Take Back Health Care.”

Sponsored by The Alliance, this free half-day event will give you an overview of the challenges of “business as usual” in health care and what you can do about it. Registration is required.

As a preview, you can read Dr. Rosenthal’s “Economic Rules of the Dysfunctional Medical Marketplace” on The Alliance blog.

Sally Welborn will also speak at the event on “Employers as Super-Heroes of Health Benefits.” Welborn is a health benefits consultant who was formerly the senior vice president of Global Benefits for Walmart Stores Inc., where she was responsible for the benefits programs for more than 2.2 million Walmart associates and their families.

Another event to check out is Disrupt Madison, set for June 6. This event presents engaging speakers on topics related to human resources and everyday life. While their focus ranges beyond health care, these ‘disruptors’ offer new ideas that can help you shake things up at your workplace.

Seeking High-Value Health Care
Employers who self-fund their health benefits are typically interested in efforts to “disrupt” health care because they want to buy high value health care. When health care is “high value,” it improves the outcome for patients while lowering the overall cost.

That’s disruption that’s worth the effort to change “business as usual” in health care.
 
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