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Visions of Value: 6 Take-Aways from the 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summit

Komodo Health

Dr. Mehmet Oz discussing mental healthcare with his panel: media personality Charlamagne tha God, former congressman Patrick Kennedy, and NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images


Healthcare heavyweights across the United States gathered in New York last week at the Forbes Healthcare Summit. Komodo Health co-sponsored the event, where healthcare leaders discussed future solutions for brain, body and business. All agreed: new medical breakthroughs excite us all, but the cost of new drugs, medical devices, and technology continues to rise. While there are signs of progress in nearly every corner of healthcare, these discussions came down to questions that have been top of mind for more than a decade: How do we save lives, keep people healthy, and contain costs?

The answers aren’t simple - but the time has arrived to find the answers.

Here are our top six takeaways from the Summit:

1. Connecting the Dots
The state of a patient’s health isn’t just the sum of their test results. Yet, today, a person’s zip code is a bigger determinant of their health than their genetic code. The good news is more providers consider multiple facets of living and how they affect patient outcomes. From food and housing to socioeconomic factors and transportation, social determinants are a key part of the recipe for current and future health. Organizations such as Comcast, Solera and AARP are advancing progress in making social determinants more central to care. We believe a common healthcare map that brings together these factors alongside clinical, behavioral and genetic information will be fundamental to the future of health. 

2. Mental Wealth
Holistic treatment approaches for mind and body were top of the discussion when Dr. Mehmet Oz met with his panel: media personality Charlamagne tha God, former congressman Patrick Kennedy, and NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Panelists discussed their personal experiences with anxiety, depression, addiction, and borderline personality disorder, highlighting the importance of early treatment and the necessity to eradicate stigma. Charlamagne tha God asserted, “We all must invest in our own ‘mental wealth.’ You have to take steps to figure out what’s going on in your head.” Amid Congressman Kennedy’s call for more research and financial rewards for insurance companies that take fiduciary risks to get people well, we are eager to support a future health system that brings holistic health information together - clinical, genetic, behavioral, and socioeconomic - to empower all health system stakeholders to deliver better outcomes for patients.

3. Ch-ch-ch-changes
Researchers are on the cusp of some extraordinary breakthroughs -- yet life-saving treatments are often unavailable due to geography, financial barriers, and the efficiency of an unwieldy system. In discussing progress advancing bundled payments and other value-based models, UnitedHealth Group President Andrew Witty was emphatic about the importance of improving value. “We’ve got to give patients a better deal,” he said.  From finance to policy to public health, models that advance quality and value were top-of-mind throughout the conference.

4. Data’s a Lifesaver
Nancy Lublin, co-founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line underscored the extraordinary power of data analysis. Lublin’s texting hotline helps (typically younger) people handle addiction, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, sexual abuse, and more. The collected texting data now can triage messages by severity, not chronologically, bumping more critical texts to the top of the queue. The published data findings help schools and law enforcement prepare for spikes in suicidal ideation, eating disorder issues, cutting, and more. “I love data,” says Lublin. “I want to use technology and data to make the world a better place.”  Amidst concerns about data access and sharing, Lublin provides a perfect example of how collecting data can change health outcomes; Crisis Text Line saves lives while analyzing collected insights to save even more lives in the future. 

5. Looking Forward
Industry financiers Annie Lamont, cofounder of Oak HC/FT, Cheri Mowrey, head of healthcare services investment banking at Morgan Stanley, and Erin Xie, portfolio manager of health sciences at BlackRock, gave us a peek into the future, foreseeing more technology companies in healthcare, more data science and genomics, and new classes of therapies. The shake up is welcomed. “Anything disruptive is good,” says Lamont, who advocated for data-driven approaches to improve value. “If you put entities at risk, they’re incentivized. “Every time you lower cost, you improve quality. It tends to be good for everyone.”

6. Back to Science
The concept of value was underscored yet again by Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, who suggested that instead of payment based on the number of pills consumed, companies could be paid by, for instance, fewer patient visits to emergency rooms. Finally, Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier opined about the only two metrics that matter when you’re in his role: how many people do you help, and how much do you help those people? Their breakthrough immuno-oncology drug, Keytruda, came to them through a merger, and some skepticism accompanied the acquisition. “We wanted to be able to test biomarkers so we know which subset of patients it would work for. In the early days, it restricted use of the drug. But in the long run it opened up a wide vista. The scientific approach was the right approach."

The $3.75 trillion dollar healthcare industry affects all of us: every individual at every stage of life. There are life-changing discoveries on the horizon, but bringing those discoveries and innovations to the American public remains an enormous challenge. The business of healthcare delivery needs to be changed so that the extraordinary treatments of the future can benefit everyone who needs them.

Komodo Health is proud to be part of that solution. 

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