Debate and discovery drives first day of Optum Forum.

The first day of Optum Forum is in the books, but the dialogue it generated will certainly continue.

In his opening remarks at the Executive Forum, Bill Miller, CEO of OptumInsight, emphasized that this week is about engagement and the opportunity to learn from each other. In its third year, Optum Forum continues to provide a real catalyst for deeper conversations that can help us all navigate health care challenges.

Larry Renfro, vice chairman of UnitedHealth Group and chief executive officer of Optum, spoke to attendees about mutually shared goals, emphasizing that broad solutions that blend across segments can help simplify both patient and provider experiences, and help the health system reach its full potential.

Marilyn Tavenner, former administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and current CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), joined Bill Miller on stage for open dialogue on a variety of topics — the recent expansion of Medicaid in many states, Affordable Care Act (ACA) and growing importance of linking data between payers and providers. On ACA, Marilyn said there are additional opportunities to expand on its overall framework so that it continues to meet health care goals. Some aspects of the law will go the distance to manage costs and while more transparency is needed, it has helped open the door to data. She relayed the efforts CMS made in regard to data transparency during her tenure, acknowledging that strengthening cybersecurity is a concern across the industry.

Expert-led panels, a lively debate and real-time polling

Audience participation was a big part of the afternoon sessions, which included executive-led panels and an interactive debate.

The Modernizing Health Care in Response to Consumerization session was debate style, with presenters assessing the impact of wearable fitness technology to encourage better health and wellness. Attendees were asked to vote via the Optum Forum smartphone app as to whether such technology had merit as another layer of support for condition management programs. Going into the debate, the audience was almost evenly split on the question — 48.7 percent voting “yes,” 46.2 percent responding “no.” But when polled again at the presentation’s conclusion, only 35 percent were in favor of the technology, with 62 percent responding it is not feasible.

Leaders from health plans, providers, life sciences and government segments also took the stage to share their insights into today’s most compelling challenges, including:

  • Valuable Lessons and Future Insights for Value-Based Care
  • Specialty Pharmaceuticals: New Game, New Rules
  • Enabling Health Care Transformation Through Analytics

One key takeaway from today’s sessions is that while each segment may approach these issues from a different perspective, there is agreement in how we can best address them. Increased access and use of data, greater patient engagement and enabling providers to spend more time on actual patient care were identified by many speakers as critical needs across the health care system.

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