Physician Perspectives on COVID-19 Impact to Fall Season

Webinar: Physician Perspectives on COVID-19 Impact to Fall Season

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In early September, the HealthCare Executive Group hosted an informal discussion with three physician executives. Long-time HCEG board member Dr. David Diloreto, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist, ophthalmic plastic surgeon, currently a principal at Vizient/Sg2 and prior senior vice-president at GE Healthcare Camden was joined by Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan, MD Senior Medical Director in Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan and a practicing pediatrician at Hamilton Health Center, an FQHC in Harrisburg, PA.and Dr. Jason Woo, MD, a practicing board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and a veteran with 31 years in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and consultant at the Arbinger Institute.

The discussion was centered on COVID-19’s impact over the past months, what’s changed, what’s remained the same, and what they’ve each observed and learned over the past months – particularly from a clinical and public health role. The following topics were discussed:

Impact Factors Affecting Utilization of Services The Change to Telehealth: New Opportunities for Providers to Connect with Patients
Balancing Treatment to Avoid Ongoing Destruction of Demand for Non-COVID Services Rethinking the Healthcare Supply-Chain – PPE as a Matter of Trust
Returning to School & Addressing Disadvantaged Populations Lessons Learned and Lessons to Be Learned
A Pediatric Physician on Sending Kids – Including Her Own – Back to School Experiences from Southern Hemisphere – Seasonal Viruses at All-Time Lows
Impacts on Minorities & Underserved Populations Value of Encouraging Use of Masks
Uncertainty in Testing and Understanding Prevalence ‘Long Haulers’ – The Unknown, Long-Term Impact of COVID-19
How Long Will We Be Dealing with COVID-19? Financial Impact on Providers, Employer Groups, & Payers
COVID-10 Vaccines & Importance of Fall Flu Shots Employers Forced into New Reimbursement Models
Avoiding Other Illnesses or a Different Pandemic – Maintain Immunizations Delayed Demand for Non-COVID Services
Vaccinations for Underserved Populations – Messaging is Key

The information, insight, ideas, and predictions from this informal discussion are presented in a 3-part blog series and you can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Live, Interactive Chat and Q & A – Physician Perspectives on COVID-19

Join this special October event, interact with and ask questions of these physicians Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET. Questions and requests for additional information shared by registrants prior to and/or during the live chat will be fielded by the panelists.

Reserve your seat and submit your questions and comments today!

COVID-19 Insight. COVID-19 Impact to Healthcare: Physician Perspectives on the Fall Season. Supply chain challenges. Telehealth virtual health services. Dealing with financial uncertainties. Coronavirus Pandemic. Back to School.

COVID-19 Insight: Physician Perspectives on the Fall Season (Part 1)

By | HCEG Content, Resources | 2 Comments

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world dramatically. Since late February, healthcare organizations have been largely in crisis mode – adapting to new testing and treatment demands and strategies – all while struggling to stay afloat emotionally, physically, and financially during these difficult times.

  • They’re dealing with supply chain challenges.
  • They’re adopting telehealth or accelerating their existing use of virtual health services.
  • They’re dealing with financial uncertainties due to either their focus on COVID-19 or due to the destruction of demand for non-COVID related services.
  • They’re navigating the harsh reality of a reimbursement system based on volume.

And there are many other changes caused by the pandemic and the response to the pandemic that are not yet known or fully understood.

And now, our school systems are struggling to safely re-open and bring some semblance of normality back to families and children. And as autumn rapidly approaches, addressing concerns about the potential impact from kids returning to school and the fall flu season are topics of discussion among many people.So what’s changed and what’s remained the same? What have healthcare leaders – particularly those serving in clinical and public health roles – observed and learned over the past months? What challenges, issues, and opportunities should they be focusing on? Is there a yin-yang opportunity available?

COVID-19 Insight, Information, & Ideas from Physician Leaders

To help answer these questions, the HealthCare Executive Group hosted an informal discussion with three physician executives. This post, the first in a series of three, shares some highlights and some details from that discussion.

Look for the remaining posts over the coming weeks and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more information on potential value to healthcare leaders and change-makers.

Listen to the entire recording here

Physician Leader Panelists

Long-time HCEG board member Dr. David Diloreto, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist, ophthalmic plastic surgeon, currently a principal at Vizient/Sg2 and prior senior vice-president at GE Healthcare Camden was joined by Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan, MD and Dr. Jason Woo, MD.

COVID-19 Impact to Healthcare: Physician Perspectives on the Fall Season Panelist Biographies - Dr. David Diloreto COVID-19 Impact to Healthcare: Physician Perspectives on the Fall Season Panelist Biographies - Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan COVID-19 Impact to Healthcare: Physician Perspectives on the Fall Season Panelist Biographies - Dr. Jason Woo
Dr. David Diloreto, MD Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan Dr. Jason Woo, MD

Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan, MD (Dr. Johanna) is Senior Medical Director in Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan and a practicing pediatrician at Hamilton Health Center, an FQHC in Harrisburg, PA.

Dr. Jason Woo, MD (Dr. Jason) is a practicing board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and a veteran with 31 years in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Woo is a consultant at the Arbinger Institute.

In addition, HCEG’s Executive Director Ferris Taylor helped to facilitate the discussion and provide HCEG perspectives. For more on the background and expertise of these participant leaders, see their bios here.

Live, Interactive Follow-On Chat and Q & A – October 13th

COVID-19 HealthCare Executive Group hosted an informal discussion with three physician executives.For more detailed information on the topics raised in this series of posts and for a chance to interact with and ask questions of these physicians, join us on October 13, 2020, at 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET for a live, interactive follow-on chat and Q & A opportunity.

The physician panelists will provide additional insight on what’s changed and what’s remained the same under COVID-19 with more on what expect this fall and going into 2021.

Questions and requests for additional information shared by registrants prior to and/or during the live chat will be fielded by the panelists. Reserve your seat and submit your questions and comments today!Be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn more about what’s presented in this post – and please share it with your associates.

Discussion Kickoff

Ferris Taylor welcomed everyone, offered a short summary of the goals of the informal discussion and passed the microphone (virtually of course) to Dr. Diloreto to kick off the discussion by sharing some information and insight collected over the last six months.

Physician Executives on COVID-19 Over the Last Six Months

“Supply chain issues this spring and the PPE and pharmaceutical shortages have presented new challenges, issues, and opportunities to analytics companies; re-doing their algorithms to account for co-covered impact factors.

Results of market demand forecasting and essentially what we’re seeing is a lot of what we have been virtual health. we’ve been we’ve probably compressed the trend for adoption of virtual health by five to seven years and now people are figuring out well that was bootstrapping and video conferencing with families but how do we really get the provider workflows adjusted so that this is meaningful and a productive way to deliver care.”Physician Executives on COVID-19 Over the Last Six Months

Impact Factors Affecting Utilization of Services

“The other thing we’re looking at that’s interesting is how the impact factors are affecting utilization of services. Early on we saw folks just avoiding the emergency room even staying home with symptoms of stroke and myocardial infarction. The high acuity services have returned but low acuity services have not, and we don’t believe they ever will.

These are things that basically probably shouldn’t have been in the emergency room to start with and folks are finding ways to deal with it. High acuity conditions like TAVR (Transcutaneous Aortic Valve Replacement) procedures and neurosurgical procedures are actually coming back really strong. People almost at full comparing the first six months of 2019 the first six months of 2020 basically the same utilization rates.

What’s interesting are more elective procedures including things like PE tubes in children – which have only come back to about 40 %. And so one of the issues there is could be a combination of factors. In the social distancing that was happening in the spring maybe there was less UTI and eye infections. On the other hand, families that we know are avoiding preventive services. There may be children with chronic ear infections not getting detected now. There are things that may play out long term that we have to figure out. So there’s a variable return of on the provider side of certain services.”

Dr. David went on to share more about:

Balancing Treatment to Avoid Ongoing Destruction of Demand for Non-COVID Services

COVID-19 Non-COVID Elective Services

  1. They have to balance the treatment of COVID positive patients and non-COVID positive patients in the pandemic. And we watch those surges in places like Tampa and Los Angeles and Houston last month. And actually the provider community is getting a lot better at being able to balance that care. We know more about early intervention with certain treatments. There’s less folks going on onto ventilators and obviously we’re protecting the most vulnerable people in the elderly and institutions much better. 
  1. On the other hand, the impacts financially both from demand destruction as well as increased costs are huge. We’re seeing provider groups, hospitals and health systems really having to deal now with not only the near-term financial recovery but also some very significant economic issues. We’re looking at unemployment rates in Florida right now and in Orlando where there’s high rates of people employed in tourism and entry-level service jobs unemployment rate of about 20%.

Returning to School & Addressing Disadvantaged Populations

  1. Should I send my children to school? What should I look for? Am I at risk? How will they (children) interact with aunts and uncles and grandparents? Is it really safe? And if they don’t go to school, what does that mean? 
  1. The impact in disadvantaged communities has been huge and it plays out in interesting ways not just in urban centers but was really interesting as we watched the surges in Los Angeles, Tampa and Houston as they came down the nearby rural areas particularly where you had either migrant workers and low-income workers in fields they were getting infected at very high rates. That’s probably sort of the fits and starts with this that we’re going to have throughout this pandemic until there’s widespread use of vaccines, herd immunity and more effective therapies

A Pediatrician on Sending Kids – Including Her Own – Back to School

HCEG Three Physicians on COVID-19 A Pediatrician on Sending Kids – Including Her Own - Back to School

Dr. Johanna was asked: What are you advising your patients on when they ask you: “Is it safe to send someone to school? As both a Practicing pediatrician and a parent of two school aged children, Johanna shared:

“So that’s a very important question and each family will have a different solution. I think that the first thing I have to tell parents and including myself as a parent is to empower the parent to make the decision. And there’s no wrong or right decision. You need to do what’s right for your family. And so, in partnership with the school district where your children are, I’m going to think about different things that had happened in the last 10 years for families and children. This has been one of those aspects that had created a lot of anxiety for families including myself. And I think a topic of importance to discuss is in regard to the home environment. 

Most of the kids in the state of Pennsylvania are not having the opportunity to return to school full-time – so not five days. They’re doing a hybrid model or fully online. What is the impact for a working family that has to figure out how to come up with new solutions in regard to the care of the children during the days that they are not in school?”

Impacts to Minorities & Underserved Populations

“And the financial hardship that that may represent to a family. I’ve seen families make very challenging decisions where one of the parents is no longer working. So that parent can help with the children in the home environment for schooling. And other families are sending their children though they don’t want to, or they don’t feel comfortable because they have to go to work. I’ve seen a really dramatic impact in Latinos and minorities. As you know, Latino families/minorities families are mainly in the service industry – many of us. So what happens is that the level of exposure to COVID-19 is higher – disproportionately impacting African Americans and Latinos. 

So you think about families and the impact in children and what that means to them is significant. It is a very challenging question. Parents ask me all the time in the pediatric practice and I respond with the answer: What is it that is important to you as a family? What is it that you can provide or not for your children education? And then we have a frank discussion about what the family will need to do.”HCEG Uncertainty in COVID-19 Testing and Understanding Prevalence

Uncertainty in Testing & Understanding Prevalence

Dr. Jason followed on with:

“I think, coming from the public health perspective particularly the FDA background, there’s just so much uncertainty in the testing and understanding incidents prevalence and what the outcome of an infection is. It’s so critical to be non-judgmental of what – as you pointed out Johanna – each family has to figure out what’s best for them. 

As we’re providing services, part of the challenge is to be aware of the individuality that has to be accounted for each of the patients or each of the patients coming or families coming into the healthcare system and trying to figure out what’s right for them.”

A Perfect Petri “Diamond Princess” Dish – Wasted

“I think the one thing I kicked myself is, at the beginning of all this, I was so certain that we would have such good data from the date of the Diamond Princess. There were 3000 patients, they’ve been isolated, they’re dropping CDC resources in there, they’re doing sampling and we’re going to have so much information. And then after two weeks and nothing’s coming out. I had completely missed out. 

We talk about the public health system being underfunded but I never expected us to be so poorly informed in terms of the data of the natural course of the infection, of infectivity, of how quickly it spreads and how it spreads. And so now with the plethora of different testing and the different way things are being approved by the FDA, I think it’s challenging because it’s just not the kind of data or standards that we would have had when we did Ebola, when we did Zika. 

I wouldn’t say it’s for lack of knowing how to deal (with it), it’s just the challenge of not having a sort of a standard upfront approach prepared to go up front. And I don’t say politics. I don’t want to point fingers at all in this.”

RELATED: Leadership, Trust & Skills in Overcoming Obstacles to Radical Innovation in Healthcare

How Long Will We Be Dealing with COVID-19?

Ferris mentioned reading about a poll asking physicians when physicians are expecting to be “on top of or ahead of COVID-19.” Ferris related that 50% of physician respondents are expecting that we won’t be on top or ahead of COVID until June of 2021.How Long Will We Be Dealing with COVID-19?

Dr. David shared some other insight from his organization:

“Our projections are that we’ll be dealing with a pandemic situation probably into the fourth quarter of next year (2021) simply because the production and distribution of effective vaccines – and of course the early trials are encouraging – but it’s still a monumental undertaking. And also, we still don’t know the issues about long-term effectiveness (of any vaccine). There’s still a lot of volatility around that.” 

“It seems like 2020 has been a decade. We’re finally in August and so in addition to dealing with an ongoing pandemic, we’ll have seasonal viruses and seasonal respiratory infections starting to come into play. Tell us a little bit about how you think it’ll affect frontline practices particularly with respect to testing strategies and recommendations for families.”

Dr. Jason countered:

“The question is: what do states do at this point in terms of making requirements that some of the school-age kids must meet to even participate? 

I think New York already came out with the mandatory testing; I think California also as well. There’s certainly been a lot of confusion. There are factors that – as you point out – variables that if kids aren’t in school how does that affect exposure rates that we’re not going to project the uncertainty as a provider. I think that you’re presented with where folks are coming in is certainly so dependent upon where our testing capabilities are. And how much better knowledge we have. And how quickly folks can respond to that. And that’s why it’s very difficult. 

It gets back to the uncertainty of how quickly these conditions continue to evolve and to what extent we’re able to get better information. There seems to be a lot of people working very hard at it but there’s just so much variation in the testing and so I think it’s going to be particularly hard for providers to make that (decision) but there’s just still a lot of uncertainty about what those actual prevalence rates are going to be with the different conditions. 

I’d also ask, if kids aren’t in school, how does that affect the general trend of seasonal viruses?”COVID-19 Insight. COVID-19 Impact to Healthcare: Physician Perspectives on the Fall Season. Supply chain challenges. Telehealth virtual health services. Dealing with financial uncertainties. Coronavirus Pandemic. Back to School.

Part 2 Coming Soon – More COVID-19 Insight from Physician Executives

In the next post of this three-part series, highlights and details on the following topics from the informal discussion with Dr. Diloreto, Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan, and Dr. Jason Woo will be shared:

  • COVID-10 Vaccines & Importance of Fall Flu Shots
  • Avoiding Other Illnesses or a Different Pandemic – Maintain Immunizations
  • Vaccinations for Underserved Populations – Messaging is Key
  • The Change to Telehealth: New Opportunities for Providers to Connect with Patients
  • Rethinking the Healthcare Supply-Chain – PPE as a Matter of Trust

Live, Interactive Follow-On Chat and Q & A – October 13th

For more detailed information on the topics raised in this series of posts and for a chance to interact with and ask questions of these physician executives, join us on October 13, 2020, at 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET for a live, interactive follow-on chat and Q & A opportunity.

The physician panelists will provide additional insight on what’s changed, what’s remained the same, and what may be expected this fall and going into 2021. Questions and requests for additional information shared by registrants prior to and/or during the live chat will be fielded by the panelists.

Reserve your seat and submit your questions and comments today!Be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn more about what’s presented in this post – and please share it with your associates. And if you are not a subscriber to our newsletter, consider joining 5000+ other healthcare leaders, change-makers, and industry participants and subscribe today!

The Collective Voice in Health IT – Inaugural Podcast

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The Collective Voice in Health IT is a new podcast series launched by our partner WEDI – the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange. The intent of this new podcast series is to offer engaging and intimate discussions with prominent healthcare thought leaders on both current and emerging themes and topics in healthcare: market trends, information technology, and regulations and policies. These important topics are examined from many different angles including the intersection of strategy, operations, marketing, big data, and clinical programs – among other important areas and viewpoints.

In the inaugural episode, Matthew Albright, Communication Committee Chair for WEDI and Chief Legislative Affairs Officer for Zelis Payments and Ferris Taylor, HCEG’s Executive Director, discuss how challenges, issues, and opportunities identified by the 2020 HCEG Top 10 list have exposed inequities and inadequacies in our healthcare system. Matt and Ferris explore priorities top of mind less than six months ago;  where those priorities were then and where they are now. To wit, they compare topics ‘Before Coronavirus’ (BC) to where they stand now.

Also included is a discussion about the 2020 Industry Pulse and the recently completed COVID-19 Flash Update survey measuring how priorities identified when the 2020 Industry Pulse was released in February of this year to where healthcare leaders and change-makers think those priorities lie now. The following are some highlights of the inaugural episode of The Collective Voice in Health IT. Listen to the complete podcast here and access a transcript of the entire podcast here. And look for future episodes here.

Subscribe to the HCEG eNewsletter here.

Connect, Collaborate & Create – The Collective Voice in Health IT

Matt Albright asked Ferris Taylor: How do we deal with the costs of specialty pharmaceuticals and continue going forward with respect to vaccines and testing and everything else is coming with COVID-19? But even more importantly, right behind that fundamental change of Costs & Transparency was: What’s happening with the consumer and the consumer experience?

Ferris responded:

“The transition (to the healthcare consumer and the consumer experience) has been slow to develop in healthcare. It was gaining more understanding from both the payers and the providers and all the stakeholders in healthcare of what it really means to be consumer-centric. We know what that means with Amazon or what it means with Alexa, but healthcare was far away from that in terms of consumer centricity and, of course, delivery system transformation, which could include how we make this transition from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement.

But prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it (the transformation of healthcare) was already deep into digital health and personalized medicine, and holistic healthcare at the personal level.

Now obviously things have changed in the last few months. We couldn’t be more positive that the consumer healthcare experience in the last few months has been less than par. And, of course, one of the biggest and more obvious changes in healthcare has been around the HCEG Top 10 item labeled as Accessible Points of Care. Telehealth has exploded, driven by the absolute necessity for consumers to shelter in place. But the fact they (consumers) still needed access to care and also by providers recognizing that it wasn’t desirable to have patients come into their offices. So that blip in the concerns and issues that were being addressed in coronavirus has certainly impacted the Top 10. And we’ll see statistically how that has changed with the COVID flash survey that we’re just completing right now during the end of July.”

Social Determinants of Health – Aka. Barriers to Entry

Ferris shared his insight on how the coronavirus pandemic has drawn focus to the impact of social determinants of health and the importance of addressing the ‘barriers to health care.”HCEG Top 10. Social Determinants of Health. Barriers to Health

“I guess the other change, a couple of changes, are to Healthcare Policy, number nine on the HCEG Top 10 for 2020, most certainly has moved up. It seems like regulations change every day. And I’m seeing more discussion around Population Health that has been there (on the HCEG Top 10) for many years. It was starting to get described in the term that we most commonly use: Social Determinants of Health. I personally prefer Barriers to Health but for some reason healthcare has historically and narrowly defined healthcare as medical intervention and has excluded the barriers to health. COVID-19 has certainly challenged that thinking and changed the way that we are thinking about healthcare.”

Matt added:

“I think what’s interesting is when you talk about the priorities coming into 2020 absolutely things have changed. Absolutely its flipped – everything’s been flipped on its head. But the issues themselves or, if you will, the categories of issues haven’t changed, right?

So you talk about Digital Health which we see expressed through Telehealth. You talk about Consumer-Based or Consumer-Centric healthcare. And you talk about how, in the last six months, we’ve seen how that’s kind of failed on a certain level. And certainly, Social Determinants of Health has played itself out in the inequities in the races and the genders and the status of the people who have been ended up hospitalized and actually dying of this disease.  

So actually, it seems to me in 2019 the priorities and what came out of your Top 10 had it right? It’s just that now it’s been put under a pressure test. All of those issues have kind of sped up. And the other thing, which I think is interesting and maybe it’s tied somehow to how it’s affected consumer-based health, is that everybody’s talking about it. Right?

I had no idea that at the beginning of this year that I would know so much about viruses and how they were spread and so much about how vaccines were pursued.”

Healthcare Reform – Needs a Grass Roots Movement?

[31:09 – 32:40]

Matt Albright: “I think healthcare has suddenly become a dining room table conversation, a backyard barbecue topic – with social distancing, of course. A conversation where people are talking about the priorities of their group or a group in a specific industry – and looking to their own industry. Suddenly, this industry (healthcare) is everybody’s concern and suddenly every aspect of what you just talked about: telehealth, digital health, inequalities, all of those issues are suddenly being discussed by the people.

Matt queried Ferris with two questions about the ongoing pace and longevity of processes and approaches wrought by the pandemic.

  1. Do you think that, because everybody’s talking about it, there will be a grassroots push to see these things sped up? Virtual health, telehealth, the exchange, data interchange, interoperability of health IT, and transparency issues. Or do you think we’re going to be so exhausted as a healthcare industry after this pandemic, especially at the provider and hospital levels, are kind of economically bereft that we won’t be able to move forward very fast?
  2. How do you think the last six months adds to what’s going to happen next once we conquer this thing?

Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

[32:50-34:40]

Ferris shared how the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the transformation of the healthcare system:

“One of our board members, a past COO at a large payer in the Pacific Northwest, said: ‘Don’t waste a crisis but take advantage of it.’ And in some ways, that old and trite saying that: ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ – is really coming into play here. Healthcare was already moving from analog to digital. We can come back to fax machines at some other point.”

Inequities & Inadequacies Exposed

[35:30 – 37:38]

“The COVID crisis has exposed a lot of inequities and inadequacies in our healthcare system. Lack of preparation. Safety concerns. We were disregarding a lot of public health issues that are now very much top of mind. And underneath all of that is as I listen to our members and the discussions back and forth, going back to this 2019 HCEG Top 10 priority number one Data & Analytics, it’s now moved to much more of a foundational function across Costs & Transparency, Consumerism, and Digital Transformation.

At the heart of these priorities are the challenges have also been exposed around electronic data aggregation, how we exchange data, how we get the right data at the right time about the right person in the hands of the right decision-maker in a near real-time environment to function as a healthcare system. And so platforms, technology infrastructure, interoperability, as you mentioned, have become significantly more important in terms of supporting healthcare and moving us from a transactional type of consumer experience to a much more continuous interactive, personalized, holistic consumer experience in health.”

“There isn’t a single person in the United States that is not much more cognizant of their personal health, how they feel, and how they’re protecting their health today than they were six months ago. It’s a different world.” – Ferris Taylor

When Will Consumer-Driven Healthcare Take Hold?

[42:47 – 44:48]

Matt Albright shared:

“And you know, I’m an impatient American. So my next question to you is going to be: When? I think we’ve legislatively done things out of emergency and some of the states and certainly CMS is kind of pushing to keep certainly some of the waivers that are in telehealth to keep them permanent. So we’re starting to see that already but on the same token the interoperability rule enforcement has been delayed because the hospitals just don’t have the bandwidth to make that lift right now. And the transparency rules are being argued in court.

So I guess, I don’t think we have the question here, but when are we going to see this consumer-driven healthcare take place? And when are we going to see, McKinsey says 20% of our healthcare visits will be virtual – our healthcare payouts – be in just a year or two? When do you think we’re going to see that? Is that going to have to wait for Congress to have lots of discussions about it and three or four years later we have regulations? What do you think?

Ferris responded:

“Well, and you know, there’s an interesting connection between Congress and the healthcare consumer. And that is, Congress exists because of voters. And voters are consumers of healthcare and consumers have experienced a very different healthcare environment in the last six months than they had experienced over the last number of years or even decades.

So part of the answer around when (consumer-driven health becomes widespread) shows up in the emergency orders, the state initiatives, governors’ responses, and even at the federal level some of the initiatives and emergency orders that President Trump and others, agencies have issued and put out there.”

RELATED: Surviving Coronavirus Pandemic & Thriving on the Other Side: Rapid Innovation & Telehealth

Healthcare System Survival Mode – Uncertain Recovery Timeline

[44:49 – 46:57]

Ferris shared an analogy and his take on when the healthcare system may recover.

“Obviously, along with when is how, how do we finance it? And how do all of those pieces come together? Right today, it’s hard right today to give a specific answer to your question. I kind of feel, I don’t know about you, but I feel hunkered down in the foxhole in the middle of a war with bullets flying. Flying over my head. I’m sheltering in place. I haven’t been on a plane since I think the last time I saw you in Jacksonville. And that was my last trip and I had a whole bunch of them planned but life has changed. But when you’re in that foxhole, it’s not the time to stand up and get up on a Podium and say let’s do this. Let’s do that.

I think we’re in a survival mode right now in healthcare. We’re still dealing with a surge. But as we start to flatten the curve and as we get back into the Healthcare System, the benefit designs to deal with a pandemic like COVID and the incorporation (of new services) into those designs and into the pricing for 2021. Or it might even be that it takes 2022 to get all of the financial part of this back in place so we have a stable healthcare system.

I have no doubt that we will get back to this new reality of consumerism, transparency, interoperability and the incorporation of 21st Century Technologies: artificial intelligence, machine learning, interoperability and real-time data exchange.”

Inveterate (Chronic) Innovation – Table Stakes for Survival

[47:03 -47:27]

“So, I think the answer to your question is: this too will pass, and we will get through COVID-19. I don’t know exactly when that will be. But on the other side in my 30 years in healthcare, I continue to just be very impressed with the inveterate innovation that has come into healthcare.

[49:27 – 51:41]

Innovation is here to stay. It’ll have to get priced out. It will have to get built into the financial models that make healthcare work. Hospitals, some hospitals are doing fine financially. Some, especially rural hospitals, are under extreme pressure. Different specialties in healthcare are experiencing different results. Health plans are concerned about all of the delayed, non-essential healthcare comes back. Is that going to hit them financially and with premium increases?

We’re a very state of the art, world-renowned healthcare industry and we’ll figure this out. I think that stability on the other side of the bridge will be consumer-centric. It’ll be transparent – whether it’s from costs or delivery processes or anything else. The delivery system will be much more virtual and if you push me, I’m going to say some time in 2021 – for sure 2022 – we’ll be back on track.”

Matt Albright added:

“Good. Ferris, I think you bring a great perspective. There’s no longer looking forward to Innovation. Innovation has already happened and we’re not calling it innovation anymore. We’re calling what we do on a day-to-day basis now with healthcare as innovation. I think that’s a terrific point. And I think there’s a lot to be said for how quickly our healthcare system reacted and proactively moved to take care of this pandemic.

And frankly, I’d probably have to say the same for our political systems. They came out very quickly. The governors came out very quickly with emergency orders that freed the providers to do what they needed to do. And even Congress, there’s a criticism to be had there, but they turned things around very quickly to get things moving. So, I think that’s a great point, things are already happening. Things are already here. Maybe there’s nothing that we need to wait for?”

2020 Industry Pulse Flash Update

[51:42 – 52:28]

Matt concluded the inaugural episode of The Collective Voice in Health IT podcast series with a question as to when the results and analysis of the COVID-19 Industry Pulse Flash Update survey will be available.

Ferris shared:

“I looked at the initial results of the flash survey on Tuesday, so just two days ago. We’ll have something ready to publish in two to three weeks. And I think Michael (McNutt – WEDI  Director of Education & Events) and Charles (Stellar – WEDI CEO) and you and I have talked about coming back here in August with a WEDI-specific webinar. We can have questions coming in and be able to respond to those in an interactive way. So three to four weeks and we’ll be back on the air. Thank you, Matt, Michael, and Charles, for a great discussion.”

RELATED: Connecting the Dots: COVID-19, HCEG Top 10, & Industry PulseHCEG Top 10 Industry Pulse Research

Connect, Collaborate & Create Solutions – The Collective Voice in Health IT

Matt closed the initial episode of The Collective Voice in Health IT with a call for the health information technology community to connect, collaborate, and create solutions for a Better Health System. If you’d like to participate in identifying, creating, and sharing information, ideas, and opinions on areas of interest to healthcare leaders and change-makers, reach out to us here.

Subscribe to the HCEG Newsletter here.

COVID-19 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash Survey

By | Resources | One Comment

Just four months ago in late February, the Healthcare Executive Group and Change Healthcare published the results of the 2020 Industry Pulse Report. This annual research survey is based on the 2020 HCEG Top 10 list and presents details and insight from a broad spectrum of healthcare industry leaders – specifically their insight, ideas, and opinions on the challenges, issues, and opportunities they expect to face during the coming year.

You can learn more about the 2020 Industry Pulse Report and what the leaders of the health plans, health systems, hospitals, medical providers, associations, governmental organizations, vendors, and others who responded to the survey think in this article: Insight from Healthcare Leaders & Change Makers – The 2020 Industry Pulse Report.

Take the COVID-19 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash Survey today!

COVID-19 Changes Everything – Or Has It?

And then came the coronavirus pandemic. Everything changed overnight across all industries – and the healthcare ecosystem seems to have borne the major brunt of impact:

  • Professional services done largely face to face were transferred to ‘telemedicine’ or telehealth channels with patients, health plans, providers, and all clinical and administrative staff consuming or providing these important services from remote locations – most often their homes
  • Federal, state and country organizations released regulations, new rules, and policy changes on coverage and payment for telehealth services, coronavirus-related testing, and treatment
  • More and more people started working exclusively from home or other non-traditional office settings – highlighting the importance of digital connectivity, interoperability, privacy, security, and performance

And now healthcare leaders are scrambling to ensure the survival of their organizations – reviewing initiatives and programs underway just months ago – and reassessing longer-term plans, business models, partnerships, and other fundamental aspects.

2020 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash Survey –  What has COVID-19 Changed?

To help identify how the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered the insight and opinion offered by 445 respondents to the 2020 Industry Pulse Report only four months ago, the HealthCare Executive Group and Change Healthcare have created a “COVID-19 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash SurveyHCEG Healthcare Executive Group COVID-19 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash Survey

Learn Something You Probably Didn’t Know?

This 2020 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash Survey takes about 5-7 minutes to complete – a bit faster if you don’t offer any comments. This survey closes on Friday, July 10th so please consider taking this short survey now.

The topics, survey questions, and potential responses proffered in this COVID-19 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash Survey may themselves offer some ideas and considerations you may not have considered. And the accompanying ‘readout analysis’ will be shared afterward.

Please share this survey with your associates. Let’s all not only survive the COVID-19 pandemic but thrive afterward.

RELATED: Connecting the Dots: COVID-19, HCEG Top 10, & Industry Pulse

Explore Healthcare’s Core Challenges with Peers

What will remain after the coronavirus pandemic passes remains to be seen, but for sure, the core challenges of healthcare will have changed forever. The results of this COVID-19 Healthcare Industry Pulse Flash Survey will be shared publicly in August. You can connect with other healthcare leaders and change-makers working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people via any of the following channels.

RELATED: Surviving Coronavirus Pandemic & Thriving on the Other Side: Rapid Innovation & Telehealth

HCEG Top 10 Industry Pulse Research

Connecting the Dots: COVID-19, HCEG Top 10, & Industry Pulse

By | COVID19, Resources | One Comment

The 2020 Annual Industry Pulse research survey – a joint collaboration between the HealthCare Executive Group and Change Healthcare – was released just two months ago in February. The objective of this annual survey – now in its 10th year – was to take the pulse of a broad spectrum of healthcare industry leaders representing payers, providers (hospitals, doctors offices, & integrated delivery networks), thought leaders, and other industry participants from across the nation.

And then came the COVID-19 pandemic which changed everything in the healthcare industry – and the world.

How Has COVID-19 Changed Healthcare?

Broad macro goals like increasing accessible points of care, lowering costs, increasing transparency, and improving quality are easy to agree on – in theory – but harder to define the details of and execute, especially in the middle of a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

While most all items just recently identified as top of mind by healthcare leaders on the 2020 HCEG Top 10 list have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, certain items like Cost & Transparency, Consumer Experience, and Next-Generation Payment Models – have drawn widespread attention due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And these core healthcare needs are rising to the top of many healthcare organization’s priorities as the pandemic has created an ‘unprecedented’ impact.

To be sure, the ultimate impact – and what may remain after the Coronavirus crisis subsides – remains to be seen. While micro-level approaches, ideas – and their likely regulatory impact – are just beginning to be addressed. Indeed, COVID-19’s impact on the core healthcare challenges, issues, and opportunities have changed healthcare forever.

HCEG welcomes individual participation to address these challenges, issues, and opportunities. Contact us if you’re interested in collaborating with us on research and content creation.

Additional Information, Insight, & Commentary on 2020 Industry Pulse Survey

To provide additional information, insight and comment on the initial 2020 Industry Pulse research shared over the last two months (see list of webinars, blog posts, and podcasts below), we’ve created an ‘eBook Series’ and are sharing the first part of that series in this blog post.

This two-part eBook will share deeper insight into initial information, insight, and analysis previously shared via our 2020 HCEG Top 10 and the 10th Annual Industry Pulse research survey. The intention of this eBook is to share additional information, insight, and commentary on and include how COVID-19 has impacted or may impact information specific aspects of key information shared just two months ago.

Check out Part 1 of this eBook titled ‘Connecting the Dots: HCEG Top 10, Industry Pulse & COVID-19’ and look forward to Part 2 before too long into the month of May 2020.

Helping Health Plan Payers, Providers, & Others Address Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

This eBook series presents insight from the 2020 Industry Pulse research survey – including comments from survey participants – on the following two parts of our presentation on the COVID-19 pandemic, the HCEG Top 10 over the years, & the Industry Pulse research report over 10 years:

Part 1: COVID-19, HCEG Top 10, & Industry Pulse – Consumer-Centric Strategies

  1. Similarities & Differences in Payer/Provider Adoption of Consumer-Centric Strategies
  2. Where Payers/Providers Lay on Consumer-Centric Maturity Continuum
  3. Different Strengths Payers/Providers Bring to Consumer-Driven Care
  4. Who Should Provide Cost & Quality Data, and lead Healthcare Journey?
  5. Types of Information Payers/Providers Provide to Healthcare Consumers
  6. Progress on Next-Generation Payment Models like Value-Based Care

Part 2: COVID-19, HCEG Top 10, & Industry Pulse – Social Determinants of Health & Value-Based Care

  1. Clinical Impacts to Better Serve Healthcare Consumers
  2. Reducing Barriers by Tracking Social Determinants of Health
  3. Where Payers and Providers Sit Along Value-Based Care Continuum
  4. Adoption of Alternative Payment Models
  5. Value-Based Care: What Are the Barriers?
  6. Steps Toward Payer/Provider Progress with Value-Based Care
  7. Methods & Practices for Improving Healthcare Finance and Billing

Connect with Healthcare Leaders & Change-Makers

To receive the second part of this eBook series, to participate in future surveys, share your insight in upcoming research initiatives, and to network/stay connected on the challenges, issues, and opportunities facing healthcare leadership – post COVID-19 and beyond – consider becoming a subscribe to our newsletter. And reach out with your ideas here.

Additional Information on 10th Annual Industry Pulse and 2020 HCEG Top 10

Check out the following to help understand other challenges, issues, and opportunities facing healthcare leaders and change-makers:

COVID-19 Resources for Health Plans, Health Systems, & Medical Service Providers

2020 HCEG Top 10 List – Preliminary Insight & Overview of What’s to Come

How Healthcare Leaders Leverage the 2019 HCEG Top 10 List

Healthcare ‘Costs & Transparency’ and ‘Consumer Experience’ – Top of Mind for 2020 & Beyond

Building Trust is Essential to Transforming the Healthcare System

Value-Based Relationships & Reimbursement: How can Industry Collaborate to Speed the Move to Value?

Do You Have What It Takes to Pilot the Transformation of Healthcare?

Insight from Healthcare Leaders & Change Makers – The 2020 Industry Pulse Report

Coronavirus COVID-19 for Health Plans, Health Systems, and Medical Practice Providers. National Coronavirus Response. Employers, Pharma. Coverage: Frequently Asked Questions. Evidence-Based Covid-19 Preparedness. Group Health Plans. HHS, CMS and other government organizations. American Hospital Association. Primary Care Strategies to Support Alternative Care Delivery Methods. Federal & State COVID-19 Regulations and Policy. U.S. Healthcare System

COVID-19 Resources for Health Plans, Health Systems, & Medical Service Providers

By | COVID19, Resources | 2 Comments

Many public and private organizations have developed or assembled information, resource lists, and proactive guidance to help health plans, health systems, and healthcare providers address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This blog post presents a list of COVID-19 resources and coronavirus-related information for the healthcare leaders and change-makers working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people.

These COVID-19 resources for health plans, health systems, and medical service providers are categorized as follows and include a brief description of each resource:

  • General Information
  • Health Plans & Payers
  • Providers – Health Systems, Facilities & Professionals
  • Regulations – Federal and State-Specific
  • Telehealth & Technologies

Also included are some other “resource collections” similar to this post.

RELATED: HCEG’s Executive Director Ferris Taylor on COVID-19 and HealthCare Executive Group

General Information for Health Plans, Health Systems, & Medical Practice Providers

National Coronavirus Response: A Road Map to Reopening
A road map for navigating through the current COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. It includes specific directions for adapting our public-health approach away from sweeping mitigation strategies as healthcare organizations struggle to limit the epidemic spread of COVID-19.

Coronavirus COVID-19 for Health Plans, Health Systems, and Medical Practice Providers. National Coronavirus Response. Employers, Pharma. Coverage: Frequently Asked Questions. Evidence-Based Covid-19 Preparedness. Group Health Plans. HHS, CMS and other government organizations. American Hospital Association. Primary Care Strategies to Support Alternative Care Delivery Methods. Federal & State COVID-19 Regulations and Policy. U.S. Healthcare System

COVID-19—From Now Until June: Action Steps for Hospitals, Payers, Employers, Pharma, With Marty Makary, MD, MPH
First half in a series of two podcasts from Relentles Health interviewing Dr. Marty Makary

COVID-19—After June: Action Steps for Hospitals, Payers, Employers, and Pharma, With Marty Makary, MD, MPH
The second half of a two-part series of podcasts from Relentles Health interviewing Dr. Marty Makary

COVID-19 Coverage: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions on how health insurance providers are addressing COVID-19.

COVID–19: Applying Leadership in a Crisis
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, discusses healthcare’s most prevalent leadership concerns about COVID–19 including the skills executives need to lead through a crisis.

Seeking Evidence-Based COVID-19 Preparedness: A FEMA Framework for Clinic Management
Clinicians seek to use evidence-based guidelines. So how should leaders respond when there are no best practices? Read this insightful and detailed plan adapted from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Incident Command System to manage its operations during the fast-changing COVID-19 pandemic.

Teaming and Funding Opportunities for COVID-19 Researchers
A database of coronavirus funding opportunities updated on a daily basis. Review this resource to learn more about how health plans, health systems, and healthcare providers are being funded to address the coronavirus.

COVID-19 Resources for Health Plans & Payers

Health Insurance Providers Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
A great resource from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) on how health insurance payers across the United States are taking action to respond to the coronavirus.

COVID-19 Emergency: Update for Group Health Plans
One of a series of articles on how HHS, CMS and other government organizations are changing policies and regulations to support group health plans and health insurance issuers that offer group or individual health insurance coverage

AHA Urges Private Insurers to Help Meet Historic Challenge to Respond to COVID-19
A letter from the American Hospital Association urging leaders from the nation’s largest private health insurance companies – and organizations that represent them to join hospitals and health systems to “meet the historic challenge” caused by COVID-19 to “ensure that the health care system is there for anyone who needs care.”

Do Insurers Have COVID-19 Covered?
As the implications of COVID-19 for the insurance industry unfold, uncertainty about how the outbreak may impact longer-term trends is proposed.

COVID-19 Resources for Health Systems & Medical Practice Providers

COVID-19 Best Practices
A collection of suggestions collected from participants in recent COVID-19 educational webinars. Suggestions address the following:

  • Annual Wellness VisitsCoronavirus COVID-19 for Health Plans, Health Systems, and Medical Practice Providers. National Coronavirus Response. Employers, Pharma. Coverage: Frequently Asked Questions. Evidence-Based Covid-19 Preparedness. Group Health Plans. HHS, CMS and other government organizations. American Hospital Association. Primary Care Strategies to Support Alternative Care Delivery Methods. Federal & State COVID-19 Regulations and Policy. U.S. Healthcare System
  • Telehealth
  • Virtual Care Options
  • Patient Transfers FROM Rural TO Urban Hospitals
  • Transitional Care Management
  • Educating the Community
  • Preparing the Hospital/Clinic

COVID19 Resources for Health Care Facilities
A resource page to assist health care facilities professionals in their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The resources cover critical operations such as air quality, safety and security, emergency preparedness and infection prevention.

COVID-19: Primary Care Strategies to Support Alternative Care Delivery Methods
Information gleaned from a recent webinar addressing the impact of COVID-19 on primary care including planning, prevention, patient management, and virtual care options.

Federal & State COVID-19 Regulations & Policy

CMS Releases Interim Final Rule on COVID-19 Regulatory Changes
A concise, bullet-pointed list of the key provisions of the interim final rule

Sweeping Regulatory Changes to Help U.S. Healthcare System Address COVID-19 Patient Surge
A page listing government regulations and policies on Coronavirus Waivers & Flexibilities

Interim Final Rule on “Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
The rule addresses a variety of payment and practice needs for patients and health care providers raised in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as expanding telehealth practice and relaxing rules for teaching physician practice.

State and federal efforts to improve access to COVID-19 testing, treatment
An overview of how elected bodies and state agencies are taking action to expand access to health coverage and treatment during the current pandemic.

State-Specific Regulations and Policy on COVID-19

Compendium of U.S. State Insurance Department Responses
A list of administrative materials, organized by jurisdiction, issued by U.S. state insurance departments to provide guidance to both the insurance industry and consumers relating to COVID-19

COVID-19 Impact on Medicaid, Marketplace, and the Uninsured, by State
Three scenarios representing various publicly reported estimates of the potential increase in the US unemployment rate due to COVID-19

COVID-19 Resources by State
List of state government COVID-19 resources

Telehealth & Accessible Points of Care

COVID-19 Telehealth Developments for Healthcare Providers
A summary of governmental actions regarding regulatory and reimbursement barriers to healthcare providers treating patients through telehealth

COVID-19 Telehealth Developments for Healthcare Providers – Medicaid Update
Medicaid-specific governmental actions regarding regulatory and reimbursement barriers to healthcare providers treating patients through telehealth

AI, Technologies & COVID-19 Resources

How Hospitals Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Battle COVID-19
Info on how medical facilities are accelerating the adoption and scaling of virtual and AI-based tools.

Insights on the Role of Technology and Leadership in COVID-19 Care Delivery, from the Team that Treated America’s First Case
A health system medical director describes the preparation, real-time decision-making, and implementation of a telehealth program to protect patients and staff alike.

Other COVID-19 Resource Pages Like This Page

Coronavirus Disease 2019
Collection of resources from Journal of American Medical Association

COVID-19 Resource Center
Alerts related to the novel coronavirus outbreak and its impact on individuals and organizations – from Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

COVID-19 Response Resources
Resources and online courses from the Center to Advance Palliative Care

RELATED: Supporting & Convening Leaders & Change Makers in 2020 & Beyond

Connect with HealthCare Executive Group All Year-Round

You can connect with other healthcare leaders and changemakers working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people via any of the following channels.