Health Care Systems Will Face New Challenges as Disruptors Move In
There was a clear take away from the WCHQ February 12 Assembly: Health care organizations must reinvent themselves or others will do it for them. To illustrate just two of dynamics, WCHQ invited a health insurer to describe what they see as dynamics that are driving change in the health care marketplace, and a representative of Walmart’s new health and wellness efforts.
A former health plan executive and physician in Wisconsin, Craig Samitt, MD, MBA, now President/CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota, shared four predictions based on his experience:
- # 1 - Health care as we know it is unsustainable. It is not working, and health care systems are not making progress fast enough, according to Dr. Samitt, that leaves room for the disrupters to, well, “disrupt.”
- # 2 - If we don’t deliver value, someone will. Health care is not different, the incumbents make it different.
- # 3 - Reinvention of health care is transformational not incremental. We cannot be in the lower half of affordability and upper quartile of cost. We are creating the opportunities for others to come in and make change happen. The incumbents can be realigned to make the changes that are needed, including teaming up to combat rising health care costs.
- # 4 - The incumbents will rise. No single incumbent will prevent disruption. Silo’ism doesn’t deliver results. To reinvent health, incumbents will need to rise. Together.
Dr. Samitt encouraged health care systems to “get into new spaces where we can make a difference.” Examples of these areas included prescription drugs costs, disease prevention and addressing the opioid crisis.
Walmart is, without a doubt, seen as a disruptor, but the health care business and promoting healthy living is not new to Walmart. Soujanya (Chinni) Pulluru, MD is the senior director with Walmart Health and Wellness working in clinical strategy, quality and operations. She leads Walmart Health on scope of services, quality, clinical education and proficiency as well as operations. The statistics Dr. Pulluru give weight to her statement, starting with the fact that Walmart has been in the pharmacy business for 40 years. In 2019, Walmart:
- Filled 425 million prescriptions;
- Dispensed 6.5 million glasses;
- Saw 100,000 patients last year in 19 care centers located in 3 states;
- Conducted 4 million Walmart Health Screenings; and,
- Saw 160 million people walk through one of the 4,769 stores in the US every week.
Dr. Pulluru noted that 90% of the population in the US lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. When Walmart surveyed customers to identify why they were not getting health care, 43% cited cost, 27% said it was not convenient and 22% identified access to providers and services was an issue for them.
Walmart is committed to having their stores be the “center of well-being in the community.” In September 2019, Walmart opened their first Walmart Health Center delivering primary care, labs, x-rays and EKGs, behavioral health, optical, hearing and community health in one location.
“Our presence in thousands of communities, rural areas, and hard-to-access areas give us a unique opportunity to provide access to affordable health care to many people,” according to Dr. Pulluru. “Walmart is committed to making health care more accessible and affordable to our communities. It is an important part of what we feel our role is in the communities that we serve.”
The February Assembly was the first of five education events WCHQ will hold in 2020. To align with WCHQ’s strategy to help our members improve both the quality and value of health care, members can expect to learn how Wisconsin health care providers are delivering better, more affordable care in their local communities. If you have a project, program or a process you would like to share at a WCHQ education event, contact Mary Kay Fahey. Our members are our greatest resource and collaboration is in our name. We are always proud to showcase our members clinical achievements.
The February 12 meeting materials and recording that featured Drs. Samitt and Pulluru are available to members only. If your organization is a member, you can log in or sign up for access to the WCHQ Online Community here.