BE BOLD – INNOVATE! | Reflecting on AMGA AC19

Last week I had the privilege of attending the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) Annual Conference in National Harbor, MD. As a “first-timer,” it was inspiring to participate in a summit where physician group leaders from around the country come together to work toward a single mission – advancing high performance health.

Over the course of these three days, I had the opportunity to engage in great conversation with attendees as well as sit in on a number of sessions. While the subject matter was vast and the issues were topical, population health management seemed to be the one buzzword on the tip of everybody’s tongue.

Scaling Wellness

During a time when the American healthcare system has reached a breaking point, there is a renewed focus on the primary care provider (PCP). And for good reason. Many of the outcomes that are driving costs and tied to public reporting in value-based contracts fall to PCPs, and there is an opportunity for these clinicians to move the needle when it comes to improving the health of their communities.

To achieve population health success, it’s imperative that primary care play a more active role in helping to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital. Preventing disease, narrowing gaps in care, and improving access are all levers that PCPs can pull to mitigate acute care utilization. The challenge, however, lies in prevailing reimbursement models.

Physicians still have one foot in fee-for-service and the other that is moving, albeit very slowly, toward pay-for-performance. Increased participation in accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other value-based models is certainly encouraging, but there is still a lot of whitespace between where we are today and where we need to go to effectuate real change.

A Concerted Effort to Create Healthier Communities

Being mindful of the existential challenges to value-based care, which subsequently affect population health management efforts, it was especially motivating for me to hear so much chatter around the topic at the conference. It’s important to remember that people who dedicate their lives to healthcare had and most likely still have a very humanistic view of medicine, regardless of whether they work in the clinical, operations, or IT side of the house.

For many in the profession, it really comes down to finding better ways of providing the best possible care to patients. To accomplish this, it requires teamwork across disciplines to continually challenge the status quo of healthcare delivery, and this was an underlying theme of numerous sessions throughout the conference.

In particular, one called “Reducing Unnecessary Emergency Room and Hospital Utilization“ concluded with a slide that read: BE BOLD – INNOVATE! In the context of this presentation, it referred to how one physician group completely redesigned its delivery model to cut down on wasteful spending and drive positive outcomes across its organization by better leveraging data, improving access, enhancing patient engagement, and adopting a patient-centered approach to care.

I was particularly struck by this because, in my opinion, it perfectly captured the theme of the meeting and the ethos of the AMGA. To make a ripple in still water and create healthier communities, it requires continual disruption, improvement, and adaptation.

It requires healthcare organizations to be bold and innovate.

It also requires the right technology. CipherHealth empowers medical groups and health systems to improve patient engagement in their organizations by providing a single, enterprise platform. Specifically, leading healthcare organizations leverage our solutions to support their population health management initiatives.

Check out some of the resources below to learn about our how CipherHealth helps providers achieve population health success:

Ben Kraus, Market Manager, is based in CipherHealth's headquarters in New York City. He focuses on issues concerning ambulatory care and alternative payment models, and has a special interest in how technology can spur the shift from volume to value in healthcare and enhance care coordination. In the wee hours of night, you just might find Ben jamming on stage with his bass guitar in one of the many music venues throughout the five boroughs.