I just returned from our nation's beautiful capitol city where I had the honor of attending The Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) first ever Care Innovations Summit. The event, in collaboration with The West Wireless Health Institute and Health Affairs, was designed to facilitate dialogue and drive action towards better care and better health at lower cost through continuous improvement. In otherwords, bringing people together to move beyond complaining about the broken healthcare system to fixing it, and fixing it with compassion and the innovative American spirit.
Top CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner started the day by sharing a little bit of her first hand experience with our broken healthcare system as a mother to her daughter with type 1 diabetes. Talented endocrine surgeon, writer, public health researcher, and health policy rockstar Atul Gawande MD, MPH then took the stage and discussed how 'high healthcare costs are destroying American prosperity and the American dream'. He then discussed how upon facing similar large national challenges in the past, our nation solved problems with uniquely American solutions and innovations. Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, used his inspiring 'mojo' to underscore this point by concluding: “There is no problem that Americans can’t invent themselves out of…transformation driven by a tide of grassroots innovation mojo has already begun.”
The remainder of the event showcased mainly health IT technology and program-based innovations on the ''frontlines of healthcare' (primary care payment reform models, health IT care coordination innovations, public-private weight loss programs, and patient-centered cancer care innovations). Although very few mobile innovations were discussed, the lessons learned were still applicable. Additionally, several public-private funding mechanisms (or challenges) were announced so as to be the way that new ideas are made into reality. I am personally excited about the Sanofi Data Design Diabetes Challenge Innovation Challenge and plan on entering the contest. By clicking on the link, all patients, caregivers, and diabetes healthcare professionals (ie anyone affected by diabetes), can submit their opinions on what they would most like to see in diabetes-related care innovations. After this 'crowdsourcing', the innovations that win the challenge will be those that address these democratic concerns...completely American, and in the best way possible if you ask me!
While riding home on the DC Metro (which I love), I pondered all of the inspiration I heard and felt that day. As a mobile health entrepreneur, a physician, a patient, and an American, I am very proud of the leadership and enthusiasm that our federal govenrment is providing to facilitate changes that will make healthcare better. This leadership is crucial to the funding, implementation, and adoption success for all mobile health efforts and requires our public support. So, I say, way to go CMS!!! :)