Former Partners Healthcare CEO Gary Gottlieb told listeners at Healthegy’s Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit that the industry needs more digital tools for chronic illness management in order to evolve from a fee-for-service to a value-based care system.
Gottlieb nows serves as CEO of Partners In Health, a provider of healthcare in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Gottlieb also shared his views on Partners’ decision to spend $1.2 billion on adopting Epic’s electronic health record (EHR) system and how “Obamacare” will likely fare under a Trump administration.
During an on-stage interview at the summit, Gottlieb was asked by Flare Capital Partners’ Bill Geary which technologies he would like to see innovators focus on in the near future.
“I would say management of chronic illness. Chronic illness basically dominates the health care spend overall,” he said.
What is needed, he continued, are more tools that allow health care professionals to gather data on patients in real time where they live and work. “The more that those lighter clients can be in those places … the more one can have truly patient-centered care and anticipate the problems that are associated with chronic illness,” he added.
A psychiatrist by training, Gottlieb also said there was an acute need for technologies that help manage mental illness, particularly tools that “increase accessibility with a relatively poor distribution of [mental health] professionals as well as an under-sourcing of professionals in many areas.”
He also elaborated on Partners’ reasoning behind its decision to spend $1.2 billion on implementing Epic’s EHR system. Boston-based Partners runs many of the nation’s best-known medical facilities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, McLean Hospital, and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Most of its facilities are located in eastern Massachusetts.
Gottlieb said that a good chunk of the $1.2 billion spend was for training and workflow redesign rather than the actual software. He added that prior to the Epic installation, Partners ran myriad legacy and commercial systems throughout its vast network.
“Having multiple brands and technologies running simultaneously is extremely expensive,” he said.
Gottlieb added that the Epic installation also forced standardizations in workflow, the acquisition of electronic devices, formularies, and the use of resources.
Speaking just a few days before the presidential election, Gottlieb also gave his view on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would likely fare under a Trump presidency.
Calling the ACA “one of the most important social welfare acts since The Great Society,” Gottlieb said a major problem with the act was that because it tried to please so many constituencies, it inadvertently “fortified, to some extent, some existing pathologies of the previous system and didn’t leapfrog to different approaches.”
Continuing, Gottlieb said he didn’t see lawmakers dismantling the program entirely because too many people were now enrolled. He did, however, say that certain elements would likely be targeted, such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and drug arbitrage.
“There’ll be piecemeal diminution of some of the vision, while at the same time trying to balance the public’s response to pressure to do otherwise,” he added.
Held on Nov. 2 in Boston, the Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit, chaired by Robert Mittendorff, MD, MBA, of Norwest Venture Partners, and Bill Geary of Flare Capital, brought together leading innovators, investors, and industry executives to share their valuable insights on the future of healthcare.
By Val Kennedy
Bill is a Partner at Flare Capital Partners, a team of proven healthcare technology venture capital investors known for delivering unrivaled strategic industry resources, insight and a total commitment to the success of the entrepreneurs with whom we have the privilege of partnering.