Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coffee and Danish…with a Side of Innovation

It feels like déjà vu, but I’m writing again about a thought-provoking breakfast I attended this week. As with the Forum of Executive Women‘s Leadership Breakfast, the Drexel University LeBow College of Business Lifelong Learning Series, the Business of Healthcare, event titled “Healthcare Reform: How it Affects Your Organization,” brings up a topic hot on the minds and lips of many, and one I want to continue exploring.

The breakfast featured a panel including myself, Elizabeth Weber, vice president of benefits at Comcast and Tom Todorow, executive vice president for corporate services and CFO at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was a great opportunity to be able to discuss the effects of health care reform on businesses with those on the front line. The way to really get to the bottom of an issue and what needs to be done – in this case, to modernize health care – cannot simply come from one source. Real progress can only be made when those in the trenches are given a chance to reflect on the changes and discuss their impact.

One of the main topics of conversation is something I’ve blogged about numerous times – innovation through collaboration. Now more than ever, stakeholders all have a vested interest in making our health care system simpler and smarter – allowing for a better patient experience, delivering the best possible outcome and reducing the overall costs of care.

Innovative payment methods, through accountable care organizations and value based contracting, was another area we focused on. These approaches will help increase collaboration while reducing costs, improving patient outcomes, and sharing risk and responsibility for controlling medical fees. While the transformation of industry-wide payment models is still evolving and will require a variety of strategies to suit the needs and diversity of consumers and health care providers in individual communities across the country.

Wellness programs also came up. Prevention is key to lowering costs and improving consumer health. One stat I’ve used before that bears repeating here is that it costs about $3,700 a year on average to treat prediabetes; if the condition ultimately progresses to advanced diabetes, those costs jump to more than $20,000. Beyond just the financial figures, the emotional and physical toll of dealing with prediabetes is much more feasible than dealing with the disease itself.

You can view our discussion at

Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. These meetings are an opportunity to bring together different stakeholders with a common goal. Whether advancing women in business, or modernizing health care, what better way to trade ideas than over coffee and danish?

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