PAC Evolution Summit – Engage with the NOW

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PACCR and naviHealth were honored to host the PAC Evolution Summit in Nashville, Tennessee this past week.  From the insightful panels, thought-provoking keynotes, and engaged attendees, to the sophisticated receptions and only-in-Nashville songwriters’ reception – it was an enjoyable and enlightening two days in Music City!  We would like to extend a special thank you for those of you who attended.  For those who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you next year on October 4-5 for the 2017 PAC Evolution Summit!

The Summit brought to light key challenges and impacts on what matters most: the delivery of excellent patient care.  We heard from numerous speakers about the importance of patient choice, the desire to improve collaboration and communication across the healthcare continuum, and the need to share data to improve outcomes and drive success. The overarching theme – The Future is Now – was overwhelmingly apparent, and the Summit invited all of us to Engage with the NOW.  We now invite you to engage with us.  Here are three key insights from the PAC Evolution Summit.

Patients Must Be Actively Engaged and Have Informed Choices

Beginning with the Opening Key Note by George Barrett, Chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health, active patient engagement and informed patient choice were at the forefront of much of the Summit’s discussion.  Barrett’s message that “optimal care must be based on clinical data and consumers being actively involved,” resonated with the panelists and attendees.  Clay Richards, CEO of naviHealth, and Josh Luke, Chief Strategy Officer of Compliagent/Nelson Hardiman Healthcare Law, both shared personal stories of family members who faced difficult post-acute care decisions with limited resources and time, and both focused on the importance of providing patients and their families with the tools they need to make an informed decision.  Case manager Claire Zakrzewski was also able to share insights from the field on the “how” and “why” patients make these crucially important, but often ill-informed care decisions.

Informed patient choice also has dramatic implications at the hospice level of care, as the Summit’s panel on End of Life Care made clear.  Anna-Gene O’Neal, CEO of Alive Hospice, noted that “When done right, end of life care creates an environment of healing – one that we can’t dismiss, but rather must embrace.”  Communication with the patient is key to achieve this environment of healing.  Physicians and case managers must provide proper education and engage the family members, while the family must also be willing to engage the patient in these difficult conversations, and to ultimately respect the patient’s final decision.

We Must Actively Engage with Data as a Driver of Success and Tool of Innovation

The importance of data and the need to actively utilize data was an underlying tone of nearly every panel discussion.  The Summit featured payers seeking to utilize data-driven transition processes to revolutionize care and ensure that he or she is both providing the “the best care possible” and ultimately getting patients to “where they want to be,” as well as representatives from successful ACOs who highlighted that data and appropriate integration from all stakeholders were crucial to a successful transition to and implementation of value-based care.

An illuminating discussion on the importance of active engagement and utilization of data occurred during the panel on Discharge Planning and Decision Support Solutions.  Charity Hefley-Leigh, Vice President of Vitality to You (V2U) for Genesis Rehab Services, and Catherine Callan, Director of Clinical Integration, Quality, and Transformation at Integrated Care Partners, Hartford Healthcare, discussed the necessity of using quantifiable data points in discussions with patients and family members to ease the transition to appropriate post-acute care.  Callan emphasized that many healthcare systems, Hartford included, did not have the data tools, nor the appropriate culture to accept and harness the transition to value-based care.  Being able to point to precise, quantifiable predictive data was crucial to facilitate cultural acceptance and drive reform – and was the ultimate key to successful transformation.  When faced with reluctance and concerns that data would replace the valued expertise of physicians and case managers, Callan emphasized that technology “allows for the mundane tasks to be moved elsewhere,” in order for those who specialize in the delivery of care to identify and focus on the most complex and time-intensive patients.  The discussion harkened back and honed in on George Barrett’s Opening Key Note the day before – “Optimal care must be based on clinical data and consumers being actively involved.”  We must engage with both data and patients to achieve what matters most: the delivery of excellent patient care.

Active Collaboration and Engaged Integration

George Barrett opened the Summit with the following sentiment: “The challenge within the U.S. healthcare system is not the system’s ability to deliver care – it is its inability to systematically align incentives.”  The importance of actively engaging with all stakeholders resounded throughout the Summit.  With attendees representing all spheres and from across all spectrums of the healthcare delivery system, the Summit provided an opportunity for all to interact, exchange ideas, and understand how each of us can and must play a role in improving the transition to and delivery of post-acute care.

Our keynote speakers and panelists consistently reaffirmed that “The Future Is Now” – and that this future is here to stay.  Chris Jennings, President of Jennings Policy Strategies and previous Senior Health Reform/Policy Advisor under both President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton, and Tom Scully, General Partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and previous CMS Administrator under President George W. Bush, engaged in a lively discussion over the future of healthcare policy in light of the impending presidential election.  Both agreed that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, as are the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s experimental models, though certain priorities may shift depending on the results in November.  In light of these changes, both speakers emphasized the importance of collaboration and working across the aisle to better align incentives and to ultimately deliver the most optimal care.

Active collaboration and improved and engaged communication were key themes underlying the entirety of the PAC Evolution Summit.  In order to actively engage and effectively inform the patient, we must open the lines of communication across the healthcare continuum.  In order to actively engage data and employ it as a tool for success, we must open the lines of communication across the healthcare continuum.   In order to move forward and continue to improve upon healthcare delivery, we must ALL throw open the doors and allow ourselves to be engaged.  The Future is Now and it is up to us to Engage with the Now.

Thank you again for your attendance, and we look forward to another great event in 2017!