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Aug 24, 2023

Primary care is meant to be the foundation of our healthcare system, yet it receives only 4-6% of total US healthcare spending. That under-investment is one reason—if not “the” reason—why the US spends more on healthcare but has the worst outcomes among high-income countries, according to a Commonwealth Fund report.

Our current fee-for-service system incentivizes volume over value. Despite industry rhetoric about the importance of primary care, it remains poorly resourced and ill-equipped to deliver the comprehensive, continuous care patients need. Meanwhile, clinicians’ frustration with low payment, administrivia, and fragmented technology saps the joy of delivering care from their lives, fueling record-setting levels of burnout and a worsening shortage of primary care physicians.

On today’s show, the IA panel explores how we can, and why we must, focus on and transform primary care through innovations in payment models; innovations in healthcare IT; and innovations in the marketplace by primary care startups (those funded by private investors, private equity, venture capitalists) and established corporations, such as retailers, pharmacy chains, insurers, and healthcare leaders.

Joining Innovaccer’s Sean Hogan on the panel is Ann Greiner, the president and CEO of the Primary Care Collaborative, a not-for-profit association working to advance an effective and efficient health system built on a strong foundation of primary care and the patient-centered medical home.

Also taking a seat on the panel is Forbes columnist Seth Joseph, the managing director at Summit Health Advisors, an advisory and consultancy focused exclusively in healthcare, and primarily working with digital health startups and investors.

Here’s what the panel debated:

  • The underappreciated role of primary care in the US healthcare system
  • Top challenges facing primary care, including lack of investment and resources, clinician burnout, and payment and reimbursement issues
  • Differences between a primary care-centered model and our current healthcare system—and why they matter
  • How a strong primary care system produces better prevention, care coordination, and lower costs
  • Why there’s underinvestment in primary care
    Innovative payment reforms that can better support primary care
  • Why a hybrid approach to payment and care delivery can deliver better,  equitable patient care
  • Use, under-use, and misuse of technology and information systems in healthcare, and their ripple effects
  • How achieving IT systemness makes such a shift possible and improve health equity and accessibility
  • Measures to improve health equity and equal access to quality care
  • Fragmentation in the healthcare system, why and how to end it
  • Emergence of new primary care models and the companies investing in them
  • Network effects’ impact on care coordination enabled by technology
  • Designing provider- and patient-centric technology solutions
  • Ways to scale promising innovations in primary care
  • Techniques to improve care team satisfaction to cool burnout
  • Untapped opportunities for pharmacists to partner with primary care
  • The investor perspective on healthcare innovation

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