In a presentation last year, I had to say what the mission of the newly formed Comagine Health (formerly HealthInsight and Qualis Health) was before our new board had finalized it. As the exact text was under development, I summarized that basically, they just want us to change the world. While I got a laugh from the audience, it turns out I wasn’t too far off.
Our board has since created our mission – Together with our partners, we work to improve health and create a better health care system so that people and communities will flourish – and a vision with a framework of the outcomes we seek to improve and critical levers to use.
Which of these areas should be focused on to have the greatest impact on the outcomes we seek to improve? Unfortunately, the answer is all of them. The current system is difficult to change, so simultaneous work on these levers is needed. For example, integrated care is difficult to provide without incentives realigned to reward efforts that improve quality and contain costs. Integrating systems of care is most effective if both patients and their care providers are involved in the redesign effort. Community stakeholders collaborating can exert leverage to promote transparency in the systems’ outcomes and costs, and foster alignment of new payment models and tests of new benefit designs (which bring about aligned incentives that support integrated care). So, as you see, the levers are interrelated such that our communities must work on them simultaneously to create large, sustainable gains in cost reduction, quality and health.
Comagine Health has done pioneering work over the last few decades in many of these areas:
- Helping evolve the national quality oversight programs to have a greater impact by adding proactive quality improvement to retrospective quality assurance efforts
- Developing patient safety approaches that embrace human factors science applied in other industries
- Building frameworks for patient-centered medical homes and practice transformation
- Convening partners to come to the table to build health information exchanges for clinical data, and to combine and use administrative claim data to identify and address gaps in health care quality and excessive cost
- Partnering with state Medicaid programs and other payers to ensure patients get the care they need while avoiding overuse of health care that can lead to unnecessary risks and costs
- Leading early research on opioid misuse and testing effective tools needed to address the growing issue
- Piloting new ways to best meet patients’ needs, especially vulnerable patients like the homeless, and to provide proactive care using dollars redirected from overuse of emergency and hospital care
- Supporting providers and communities as they adopted electronic systems to better capture, track and use data on how health care is delivered
Where we should focus next to have the greatest impact on the outcomes we seek to improve?
First, we identify the needs of our communities and the stakeholders invested in meeting those needs, as well as the efforts already underway and assets in place. Although there are common problems, the best approach is unique to each community. We continue to test methods to engage and activate key stakeholders, individually and as a group, to focus attention on the changes required to improve health and health care while reducing inequity and excess cost. We can do more together to assess novel technology solutions that provide timely and actionable information to providers and patients, and reduce the burden and barriers to change.
My mom always told her children to leave the world a better place than we found it. I hope that working at Comagine Health will give me the opportunity to do that. Because the hardest problems can only be solved by working together as a community, we invite you to join us as we work to improve health and create a better health care system so that people and communities will flourish.