Most who follow the JP Morgan Healthcare extravaganza search for clues to short, long term or even nano second high frequency trading equity plays – witness the flurry of pre-event ‘news’ releases, ‘how to follow’ the event tomes, preferred ‘investment themes’, and ‘what to expect’ guides, etc. Yet from my perspective the ‘below the radar’ value from this gathering is the strategic insight to be gleaned from the trophy and lesser known 501(c)3 or their derivative for profit JVs or affiliates sharing their vision, approach and results to a market with tectonic shifts in its midst.
Trophy nameplates the likes of Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic, Ascension Health, Sutter Health, Advocate Health, and Intermountain Healthcare seed an impressive class of variably mature operators with varying relative success in the integrative delivery system and risk contracting and management theatre.
As ‘uptake gatekeepers’ if you will, for many of the innovations – whether HealthIT, biotech, biopharma or care delivery (population health, care management, etc.) related, these systems are excellent proxies for indicia if not the profile of granular value adds enabling a sustainable healthcare ecosystem.
The rapid proliferation of ‘innovation centers’ organized under ‘Chief Innovation Officers’ with line operational authority and a mission to disrupt legacy or ‘this is how we do it’ institutional inertia evidences the priority of the ‘triple aim’ in the healthcare C-suite.
As you watch and/or listen to some of these reports (including that which is NOT said), consider the following recent report issued by Mckinsey as it drills into the macro environment as well as the operating weeds of health systems pursuing an ‘integration strategy’ via acquiring or building a health plan group in its operating portfolio. The timely report is titled: ‘Provider-led health plans: The next frontier—or the 1990s all over again?’
Getting it ‘right’ this time may be the last ‘kiss at the apple’ to salvage the public/private partnership as principal host of the U.S. health system. How these systems vision, structure and pursue the triple aim, i.e., better care, better outcomes at lower per capita cost will in larger measure determine the industry’s collective success.
As noted by one of the report authors:
‘This is clearly a segment we should be paying attention to…There has been a lot of discussion wondering if the market is just a repeat of the 1990s… I think time will tell, but there are three or four reasons why I think it could be different than the 1990s.’ Gunjan Khanna, PhD
For additional context if not insight from an ACO or accountable care perspective, see: ‘Universal American: No Where in Sight at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2015’.