Lessons in Health Reform from Across the Nation: Insights from Clinical Advisor Dr. Lisa Dulsky Watkins

Lisa Dulsky Watkins, MD, Onpoint’s clinical advisor and director of the Multi-State Collaborative at the Milbank Memorial Fund, Jenney Samuelson, MS, assistant director of the Vermont Blueprint for Health, and members of Onpoint’s analytics team recently joined forces to host a breakout session on "Primary Care Transformation: Lessons from Across the Nation" at the Maine Quality Counts 2015 Conference. In recapping the presentation, Dr. Dulsky Watkins has provided the following highlights around health policy reform based on actionable data from her experience leading a multi-state advanced primary care collaborative with the Milbank.

How can multi-payer primary care initiatives help reverse some of the key drivers of spending growth and poor health/healthcare quality?

Multi-payer primary care initiatives have, at their core, goals that align with each of the dimensions outlined in the Triple Aim: (1) improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), (2) improving the health of populations, and (3) reducing the per capita cost of healthcare. By providing patient-centered, team-based coordinated care that can be readily accessed, illness potentially can be better treated or even prevented. Doing so should, in turn, help reverse spending growth significantly.

How can reliable, meaningful data be accessed and interpreted to drive transformative, sustainable changes in healthcare systems across local communities?

In order for multi-payer primary care initiatives to function both effectively and efficiently, they need reliable, timely, available, and actionable information. Put another way, we cannot learn from experience unless we can measure and interpret it. Collecting data reliably and consistently, then cleaning and analyzing it, and finally being able to understand, share, and use it, brings everything to a higher level. This very process sets the stage for “sustainable changes in healthcare systems across local communities” only if such information is shared broadly and acted upon.

Dr. Dulsky Watkins’ work as a multi-state convener for the Milbank Memorial fund, in which she acts as an advocate for new and continued support for health system and payment innovation at the state and federal levels, and especially for multi-payer advanced primary care initiatives, ties in nicely with some of the Milbank’s recent reform-focused projects. To learn more about the Milbank’s new study on cross-state total cost of care reform efforts, for example, read our featured article by clicking here