Special Topic: Optum Forum Day 2

The second full day of Optum Forum 2016 included deeper dives into Optum solutions in sessions led by Optum experts and clients, in a mix of sessions further exploring health care industry hot topics.

The most talked-about sessions among attendees included discussions on concussion management, the substance abuse crisis, and how workplaces are trying to build new cultures of health by bringing together industry leaders and clients in engaging dialogue and sharing insights.

Population health & the pursuit of value-based care

The transformation of health care includes a shift to value-based care; ensuring people get the best, most effective care possible. Success in this transition requires collaboration across all health care stakeholders, from people to providers to employers.

In today’s sessions around population health, Optum clients shared how they have established workplaces focused on maximizing health. They included concrete goals of making it easy for employees to manage their health and access benefit and care information, such as having a single point of contact for benefit information. They also discussed the recent Optum Wellness in the Workplace study, trends on employer wellness programs and the need for relevancy when it comes to workplace incentives for healthy behaviors.

From the provider side, the topic turned to managing episodes of care with Cleveland Clinic’s Monica Deadwiler, who shared her organization’s approach to bundled payments. Establishing the care model first and then determining your bundled payments structure will lead to successful financial results and improved outcomes. The Cleveland Clinic’s promise to patients: “We will deliver all the care needed to get you through your entire episode of care.”

Improving quality and reducing cost

rx_substance abuseOptumRx Chief Pharmacy Officer David Calabrese, RPh, discussed the opioid epidemic we are currently facing in the US. “We are in the midst of an amazing crisis, unlike any other epidemic we have faced. It doesn’t discriminate by race, ethnicity or where you live, or any other demographic measure,” Calabrese said.

What makes this epidemic most unique, he said, is the fact that this is the first in the US that has been brought about almost exclusively by the well-intentioned but misguided efforts of the health care system. With the annual US societal costs of prescription opiate abuse at $56 billion, opiates are now the leading cause of accidental death in the US.

“Optum is uniquely positioned to lead in this area to not only contribute but to pave new paths and lead in this area,” Calabrese said.

Diving into another important area of quality improvement and cost reduction, Tony Strickland, MS, PhD, FNAN, discussed the rise of concussions and need to understand how to best treat the injured. He stressed that it’s never been safer to play sports, and that individuals who play sports have significantly reduced levels of dysmorphia and anxiety and significantly increased levels of self-confidence and discipline. But recent media attention on concussions has “fanned the flames of hysteria,” said Strickland.

A number of risk factors, including age, gender and comorbid conditions add variability to concussion management. With 3.4 million patients in need of concussion care per year, estimated expenses currently average $5.4 billion. Emergency room physicians and urgent care centers need to be armed acutely to care for concussed patients.

Strategic planning

A diverse panel of industry experts from Optum, Walgreen Co. and AON discussed horizontal and vertical integration trends within health care. The speakers discussed the current state of consolidation within payers, hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies; and some of the drivers of those consolidations. As health care becomes more industrialized, market consolidations will continue to occur.

Friday brings the final lineup of conversation and education for the conference. Join in the conversation by following #OptumForum16 at @Optum.

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