Three digital health companies weigh in on value-based care and policy

On day two of the Digital Health Summit at CES, executives from three companies — CareMore, AbleTo and Seniorlink — discussed the government, policy and the shifting healthcare ecosystem.

Day two of the Digital Health Summit at CES kicked off with a discussion not on the latest technology, but on the government, policy and the shifting healthcare ecosystem.

Executives from three digital health companies — CareMore, AbleTo and Seniorlink — voiced their thoughts on the less techy side of the coin.

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To begin, the panelists launched into their opinions on the government’s role in healthcare.

Thomas Riley, president and CEO of Seniorlink, an elder care and caregiver services company, said his organization’s work with the government has been fairly positive. Zubin Eapen, CMO of Anthem subsidiary CareMore, echoed those thoughts.

But Reena Pande, CMO of AbleTo, a behavioral health services company, disagreed.

“I’m going to play devil’s advocate,” she said, citing limitations in the realm of telehealth delivery. “The patient had to be in a so-called ‘originating site.’ That’s softening, thankfully. [The government is] getting there, but those barriers have kept us from working with Medicare patients.”

The panelists also discussed the pluses of the legislation equation.

When asked what the ACA and other policies brought about, Riley replied: “I think the value-based care horse is out of the barn.”

But although legislation has prompted the industry to make a clear movement away from fee-for-service, problems remain.

“The genie’s out of the bottle on value and quality,” Pande said. “There’s a little work yet to be done for how we embed value-driven payment into the system.”

There are also issues as far as behavioral health is concerned. Conditions like anxiety and depression are separated from the rest of healthcare. They’re pushed to the side while the “medical stuff” is dealt with using a different pot of cash, Pande said.

Yet as dual programs are created, the industry is realizing that a focus on social determinants and behavioral health can positively impact a patient’s overall health.

To conclude, the panelists shared a brief bit of advice for healthcare companies looking to navigate the regulatory landscape.

Riley urged attendees to refrain from developing technology in a vacuum, while Eapen stressed the importance of a holistic viewpoint. “We are looking for a holistic solution for understanding which patients are doing worse in their home,” he said.

Pande wrapped it up with a closer look at the consumer. “At the end of all these ideas are real people with real problems dealing with real health conditions,” she said. “Always remember the patient. At the same time, you can’t forget about the CFO at the other end.”

Photo: IvelinRadkov, Getty Images