More than a week before the March 11 KHC 2020 Annual Conference, the KHC began making adjustments to meet the COVID-19 best practice guidelines for events in response to the quickly changing landscape of the spread of the virus. That all changed when COVID-19 reached Louisville on March 8, just three days before KHC’s biggest event of the year. Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville’s Health Department Director and KHC Board member, recommended the KHC either postpone or go virtual with the conference, becoming one of Louisville’s first events faced with this difficult decision. Because the health of the community has always been at the core of the KHC’s mission, it was an easy decision to cancel the in-person event and go virtual. Making it a reality was much more challenging.
Monday morning was a blur of activity, securing a technology solution and learning we would be unable to cancel a majority of our event expenses. Our top priority was to create a professional and interactive experience for our attendees who paid for an in-person event, not a virtual one. As the KHC’s biggest annual fundraiser, the other big concern was that our sponsors and exhibitors had paid for the opportunity to network and showcase their work at both a reception and conference, not a virtual one. In response, we offered some new benefits to our sponsors and exhibitors, offered to work with all of our partners individually, and offered refunds to anyone not satisfied with the event.
What was expected to be the KHC’s biggest conference yet in terms of number of attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors turned out to be its best for an entirely different reason. The rallying of the community in support of the work of the KHC and its mission could be felt by the entire staff through texts, emails, tweets, and kind words. We were overwhelmed by the positive response and support we received from our conference sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, and speakers, as well as KHC board members, partners, and KHC member organizations. With only a few technology hiccups and a few refunds requested, the KHC can officially claim to have hosted a successful virtual conference with two days lead time. Even more exciting was our ability to donate our $10,000 of uncooked food to Uspiritus Brooklawn, a psychiatric residential treatment center and private childcare residential facility for adolescents and children.
The conference kicked off with Kennan Wethington, President of presenting sponsor Anthem of Kentucky, sharing inspiring words on the need to humanize healthcare and words of comfort as the KHC’s conference marked the first day of the WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. Next, Dr. Moyer took time from her response work to share the latest updates on COVID-19 cases and prevention recommendations. Another milestone of the event was a special recognition of Dr. Teresa Couts, KHC Co-Director, for her exemplary leadership, as the event marked her last conference before the next chapter of her career.
The “Humanizing Healthcare” conference keynote speaker, Dr. Zeev Neuwirth, did not disappoint in sharing how to create a thriving consumer-oriented, value-based, humanistic healthcare system as outlined in his book, “Reframing Healthcare – A Roadmap for Creating Disruptive Change.” He was as engaging virtually as I’m sure he would have been in person. One of our attendees commented, “I was more engaged in this conference than others and loved the virtual option!”
Speaker Lynn Quincy of Altarum shared what consumers really want from healthcare and stated that healthcare affordability was Kentuckians’ top priority. Anthem, Artemis, and Castlight showcased several innovative services and strategies designed around healthcare consumer needs and wants. The afternoon was spent with several key national and local healthcare stakeholders sharing their strategies and collaboration efforts to improve health and health equity by addressing social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health.
Our entire team felt good about the event and was pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement by attendees chatting and asking questions of speakers. I want to give a special thanks to Natalie Middaugh, KHC Community Health Program Manager, who brilliantly managed all of the technology, and Stephanie Clouser, KHC Data Scientist, who so eloquently communicated all of these changes to everyone; the event would not have been possible without their hard work and dedication to making this event a reality.
We now have a reputation for being the non-profit coalition that was able to pivot to a virtual event in just two days. I was able to present how we did it at the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions last week. I closed my presentation to my peers facing the same scenario that it was in fact our community and partners’ incredible generosity and graciousness that made the conference successful. Thank you to all of our sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, members, and board for your support. It is clear that COVID-19 has not only spread fear and uncertainty across our communities but also kindness.
The KHC 2020 Annual Conference was one of the first event casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the World Health Organization officially classified it as a pandemic on March 11, the day of the conference. Three days before this, Louisville recorded its first known case of COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus.
Because of this, the KHC had to quickly pivot its largest annual event, expecting well over 200 participants, to a virtual event in less than two days. We will soon publish another post with a summary of the conference, detailing those changes, but one of the unexpected benefits of working with an online event platform was the interaction that attendees were able to have with speakers and panelists.
There was a question and answer tool that attendees could utilize during a presenter’s session, and they could answer those questions at the end of each session. However, as often is the case, many times there were more questions than time for answers. This platform allowed presenters to directly chat those questions to attendees without the need to wait for event organizers to follow up with presenters after the event.
Below are some of the follow-up questions that were answered. Some replies may have been modified to correct typos.
Opening Update of COVID-19 and Guidelines from Sarah Moyer, MD, Director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness
Question: Any updates regarding children and pregnant women?
Answer: Children seem to be fine, pregnant women too, but unsure of effects on fetus since so new, so would put pregnant women in high risk category.
Session: Reframing Healthcare with a Marketing Mindset: A Roadmap for Creating Disruptive Change
Speaker: Zeev Neuwirth, MD | Chief Clinical Executive, Care Transformation and Strategic Services | Atrium Health
Question: Dr. Neuwirth, Interested in what your research and interviews shows regarding how we can better tackle social determinants of health – believe its well understood that SDOH influences up to 20-30% of outcomes.
Answer: Thank you for that question. I devote the last chapter of my book to this issue. I had wanted to include an entire section of the book to this topic. I consider the SDOH to be the other major reframe of our time! We must reframe healthcare with this in mind. I think Lynn Quincy is saying exactly what I would about it. The example I gave of Tony Slonim was an example of reframing HC to account for the SDOH reframe. Steve Klasko whom I also interviewed, from Jefferson, also focuses on this a lot. Again – so critical.
Question: Interested in your insight as to how Pharma manufacturers, as a key stakeholder in healthcare delivery, need to ‘reframe’ their mindset and approach to their partnership with IDNs, payers, employers – Right med to right patient at right time, etc.
Answer: So much to say here. One issue. is that of adherence with medication taking. What is pharma doing to reframe that? I think there is so much work that could be going on in the largest problem with meds – people don’t take them or don’t take them appropriately. I would love to have the opportunity to do a reframe session with pharma. Obviously – the elephant in the room – is the cost and rising cost of medications. How do we reframe that issue? Pharma has a tremendous opportunity here. In my recent talks I’ve begun to talk about leadership reframing itself. I think this is an even more fundamental issue. Again – happy to discuss further…
Question: Great presentation! How can individuals be given more choices–we are limited to choices governed by where we live, who we work for, whether we are are on Medicare or Medicaid, etc. How can we bring CityMD and ChenMed and other options to everyone?
Answer: It’s happening. ChenMed is going national. And there are others like it around. But I agree – the frustration in HC, from a consumer perspective, is limited choice, or perceived limited choice. But, choice is growing and it’s coming! And, people will vote with their feet and their wallets and their attention! Happy to help connect you with CityMD or ChenMed or others to bring it to your community or healthcare system.
Question: Dr. Neuwirth -Are you seeing any difficulty or opportunity around mental health integration in these primary care specializations?
Answer: Huge. opportunities in mental health. Again, so much to say here. I think BH can be reframed; and I believe it is. The current approach is inadequate and not sustainable. BH needs a fundamental reframe in healthcare!
Session: Multi-Stakeholder Approaches to Addressing the Social Determinants of Health and Improving Health Equity (PANEL)
Question: Question for all presenters … much of the focus here is optimizing patient experiences/outcomes through technology There is research that correlates human connection (physical presence, touch) to improved trust, patient engagement and positive health outcomes. How do we strike a balance?
Theresa Reno-Weber, President and CEO, Metro United Way: Thank you so much for this question. In reference to the United Community effort, the technology is meant to connect people to people. It is simply a tool to better coordinate warm hand-offs and share information in a HIPPA secure environment across organizations and sectors. It is not meant to remove the human connection, but better facilitate the connection to people, supports, and services available in our community.
Question: Theresa, please share what policy Metro United Way is working on to help patients with their healthcare?
Theresa Reno-Weber, President and CEO, Metro United Way: Thank you for the question. Please see our Public Policy agenda highlighted on our website: https://metrounitedway.org/join-us-in-the-fight/advocate/. Our current policy work is primarily focused on the SDOH.
Because nothing is more important than the health and safety of our community and partners, we have decided to make KHC’s April 22 Pain Symposium a virtual event out of an abundance of caution for the spread of COVID-19.
Much of the event will stay the same including the date and only slight modifications to the times and lineup of expert speakers. We will use a platform called “BlueJeans” to stream the event. We recently utilized the platform to virtually hold our annual conference with great success. For these reasons, we are confident that we will host an engaging and informative event for our attendees.
Details on how to join virtually will be sent out to attendees once we have it. As a reminder, updates and general information on the symposium can be found on the event page here.
If your organization is interested in potential sponsorship opportunities for this event, please contact Emily Divino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we adjust to these challenging times. There are still some details to work through, so please continue checking emails from us and the event page for updates. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the symposium, don’t hesitate to contact the KHC staff. We are committed to delivering an educational event and look forward to you virtually joining us on April 22!
The KHC has been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak closely. In light of these unusual and fluid circumstances, this weekend’s news of Louisville’s first confirmed case of the virus, and Kentucky’s updated guidelines for social distancing, we are changing the KHC 2020 Annual Conference to a virtual event. As you know, organizations across the country are facing these same tough decisions. We are confident that we will host an engaging and educational event virtually.
The pre-conference reception on Tuesday, March 10 has been cancelled.
We will send out the virtual conference information to attendees as soon as we have it, but we wanted to make sure that we give our attendees this information as soon as possible for guests coming from out of town who have to change travel arrangements. We are happy to work with attendees individually regarding their registration.
We will reach out to our exhibitors, speakers, and major sponsors with separate communication.
Public safety is our top priority, and we thank you for being patient as we navigate these uncharted waters. We want to do our part in being proactive about preventing the spread of this virus. There are many more details to work through, so please continue to be patient as we get that information to you.
We have been monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and any potiential impact on the KHC Annual Conference next Wednesday, March 11. We have been assessing the conference risk with KHC Executive Board Member Dr. Sarah Moyer, Director of the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness, and are following CDC event guidelines. At this time, our event has been assessed as low risk. All speakers currently are still confirmed for the conference.
In a constant effort to practice the best hygiene guidelines that protect against the spread of any and all viruses, including COVID-19, we have made the following adjustments to accommodate these concerns:
- We will include hand sanitizer at each table
- The buffet lunch will be served by venue staff members instead of self-serve
- Rather than shaking hands, we ask that attendees opt for “hellos” or bump elbows as greeting
We also ask that anyone who is sick stay home, as you would with any virus. For attendees, please practice simple habits such as frequent hand washing. Please don’t hesitate to contact the KHC staff if you have any additional questions for concerns, and we will be in touch if anything changes.
Kentuckiana Health Collaborative
Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness
Engaging and activating consumers is necessary to optimize patient outcomes, but figuring out how to do it is the billion-dollar question. Unfortunately, patients often receive the bulk of the blame for their lack of compliance, literacy, action, and responsibility in the healthcare system, despite the “system” never being designed with them in mind.
A few years ago, I remember telling a young healthcare professional I knew that they should not go to an acute care clinic for a cold during the day but rather to their patient-centered primary care home to ensure continuity of care and accurate, complete medical records. I was told that is how they always received their sick care. Obviously, this person had no idea how to engage properly in the healthcare system….right or wrong? Should the healthcare system change to support the patient’s needs or should the patient change to meet the needs of the system? Plenty of new, disruptive business models are focused more on the latter with healthcare consumerism driving how they are designing care.
The KHC’s Sixth Annual Conference, Humanizing Healthcare, will focus on how we redesign a healthcare system that treats patients and families with respect, optimizes outcomes, addresses social determinants of health, and activates patients in a healthcare system with providers who are energized and engaged in mission-driven work. We know that today’s consumer places a premium on simplicity, convenience, affordability, reputation, connectivity, and personalization. We will spend a full day learning what healthcare consumerism means to a variety of key healthcare stakeholders.
Our keynote speaker, Zeev Neuwirth, MD, is host of my favorite new podcast and 2019 “Healthcare Podcast of the Year” Winner by HITMC: “Creating a New Healthcare.” He is also the author of “Reframing Healthcare – A Roadmap for Creating Disruptive Change.” Neuwirth will have a book signing at the reception the evening before the conference and the first 75 individuals who register for the conference will receive his book for free! For his keynote address, Neuwirth will encourage and empower leaders in contributing to and thriving in a consumer-oriented, value-based, humanistic healthcare system. He will share the seven critical steps of his “Reframe Roadmap” – a reliable and replicable guide for creating sustainable, scale-able change.
Lynn Quincy, Director of Healthcare Value Hub for Altarum, will help us nail down what patients really want. Quincy will describe how to identify what patients truly want and need across the spectrum of ways they engage in the health system, and how to adapt our health system so that it is equitable and tailored to the diversity of patients. She will show how “humanizing” healthcare is consistent with other goals we have such as using resources wisely and delivering uniformly high health outcomes.
The topic for this year’s annual conference came from continued member interest in patient engagement and affordability. Barbra Rabson, President and CEO of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, will discuss how to improve affordability by better engaging patients. She will share the results of a new Massachusetts statewide survey on the barriers to obtaining high value care (trust, health literacy, capacity, access, and transparency) and will give us insight into the next steps for driving better patient experience, engagement, and activation.
Locally, there is agreement that improving health and achieving health equity requires broader approaches that address social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health. Sarah Moyer, MD, Louisville’s Chief Health Strategist, will moderate a panel of purchasers, payers, providers, consumers, and community leaders to discuss how they are working to address the social determinants of health and improve health equity in the community. Panelists include:
- Diana Han, MD, Global Medical Director, GE Appliances, a Haier company
- Theresa Reno-Weber, MPP, President and CEO, Metro United Way
- Sadiqa Reynolds, Esq., President and CEO, Louisville Urban League
- Cynthia Cox, RHIT, CHP, CSCS, Director of Health Information Mgt, Family Health Centers
- Emily Beauregard, MPH, Executive Director, Kentucky Voices for Health
- Andrew Renda, MD, Associate Vice President, Population Health, Humana
Healthcare’s “sleeping giant,” the business community, is slowly waking and becoming key partners for transforming healthcare in local communities. We look forward to announcing another presentation that will feature local innovation in this area. Additionally, we will be featuring short showcases that highlight humanized healthcare innovation by Anthem and Artemis Health.
One of the most dynamic speakers of the day will be Louisville’s own, Ben Reno-Weber, Director, Microsoft Future of Work Initiative (FWI). Reno-Weber will talk about how the community is using big data to transform health and grow the economy. Tammy York-Day, President & CEO, Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, will discuss LHCC’s innovative work to continue Louisville’s status as the national leader in healthcare aging innovation.
The KHC’s annual conference is its biggest fundraiser of the year and brings in an impressive group of local and national thought leaders. We hope that you will join us on March 10-11 for what we hope will be a catalyst for driving a consumer-oriented, value-based, humanistic healthcare system in our community. Early bird pricing ends next week, so be sure to Register today!
(Note: This guest blog post was written by Barbra Rabson, President and CEO, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP). It originally was published on the MHQP website. Rabson will speak at the KHC Annual Conference, Humanizing Healthcare, on March 11.)
I’ve spent the last two decades of my career dedicated to measuring and improving patient experience and patient engagement and have always believed that listening to patients about their experiences can be our best path to improving our healthcare system. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to see patient experience and patient engagement through a new lens: as vital tools in trying to fix what may be the most broken piece of the system – out-of-control costs.
Our unaffordable healthcare is a subject of much concern and debate in all corners of our country. Reasonable people disagree on what to do about it. But no one can disagree with one undeniable fact: at 18% of GNP and rising over the past decade, the current cost of healthcare in the US is unsustainable.
In December of last year, MHQP convened a distinguished group of experts from key stakeholder groups in Massachusetts healthcare in a “Roundtable” discussion on how we as a community might improve affordability by enhancing patient engagement and promoting a better understanding of consumers’ perspectives on the issue. The meeting was supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NHRI), which supported similar affordability meetings throughout the country that were hosted by other regional health improvement collaboratives. MHQP’s meeting was unique, however, in that it was the only one solely focused on the role patients can play in improving affordability.
That meeting changed how I view patient experience and patient engagement. Our discussion helped me understand that instead of encouraging patients to engage with the healthcare system to make informed decisions that lead to the right care, at the right time and in the right place – decisions that have an impact on quality and affordability – the system has inherent barriers that routinely prevent patients from engaging in a way that enables them to obtain high value, affordable care. The Roundtable participants confirmed that the most significant of these barriers to engagement are:
- Trust – Healthcare is built on relationships and relationships are built on trust. A trusting relationship between patients and providers improves outcomes and healthy behaviors. The current system makes it challenging for stakeholders to build strong productive relationships with providers.
- Health Literacy – The vast complexities built into our system have made it very difficult for consumers to know how to best navigate the system, comprehend their health benefits eligibility and coverage, find the best value providers in their area, and understand their medical conditions.
- Capacity – System complexity and care fragmentation place an enormous burden on consumer capacity. Many patients are unable to balance competing priorities to make sound and sensible healthcare decisions. Others are limited by lack of energy, time and/or resources to effectively engage with providers or the healthcare system.
- Access – Too often, patients struggle to gain appropriate and reliable access to providers, choice of treatments, generic drugs and information. Many factors can restrict effective entry or use of the system, all of which directly hinder patient engagement.
- Transparency – The information patients need to make effective healthcare decisions is frequently not available in a reliable or easily understood format. This information should include data about cost, quality, efficiency and consumer experience, so as to influence the behavior of patients, providers, payers, and others to achieve better outcomes.
These are the challenges of everyday interactions between patients and providers. They are points of friction that stand between us and more affordable healthcare. Yet, these issues are often ignored because they are not priorities, and they feel too big to solve. But we must take steps to begin to address these areas if we are serious about improving affordability – and I believe that starts with acknowledging them as barriers to affordability and then beginning to seek solutions. The good news is these are the same friction points we need to address to improve patient experience overall.
Here’s a rough roadmap for how we might start to better engage patients as instruments of change in making our healthcare system more affordable:
First, we need to find ways to help patients manage and navigate healthcare costs through a deeper understanding and simplification of healthcare benefits, health financial information, and health systems. Patients need better information about costs to inform their choices, and patients turn to their clinicians to make decisions about care. However, clinicians often don’t have the necessary information about costs, and typically don’t have the proper training or time to have these conversations. We all know the healthcare system is extremely complex, but we often blame patients for not being able to navigate the system. To solve this impasse, we must ensure patients and doctors bring the right information into the room at the point of care.
Second, we need to remove barriers to patient/provider engagement and work to promote “co-production” of health. A strong working alliance between a patient and their provider based on communication and trust is foundational for supporting decision-making that leads to optimal care. However, this working alliance is undermined by lack of time, relevant information, and payment incentives. While not all patients value this working alliance, it is a core principle of the primary care model which leads to better patient experiences, and we need to determine if we are willing to adjust incentives in order to preserve and strengthen it.
Third, we need to increase patient access to care by integrating digital and community care into existing healthcare systems without sacrificing the patient/provider relationship. Our model of visit-based care is restrictive and creates access barriers, particularly for underserved populations. The world has changed in the last 10 years and now many people are used to getting most things done in their living room, in their pajamas, and using their cell phones. Yet, our healthcare system has been fairly deaf to patients’ changing priorities about accessing care with regard to convenience and “self-serve” modes (e.g. access to virtual visits). Most of the innovation (and disruption) in healthcare is happening outside of the system – for example, convenient care locations in the community that are transparent about low cost pricing and virtual care for all kinds of conditions. These could threaten primary care and the strong working alliance many of us seek with our PCPs. We need to have a discussion about what we want our care delivery system (especially primary care) to look like and propose a course of action that would encourage innovation both within and outside of the current delivery system.
Solving the affordability crisis is a lot like solving the global climate crisis – where to begin? I would suggest we start by unleashing the power of the most underutilized resource in the healthcare system: patients.