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Strong Payer-Provider Partnerships are Essential to Transforming Health Care

President and CEO Paul Markovich speaks about digital health partnership at HLTH 22

Digital health and its transformational promises are no longer an abstract concept to healthcare systems, and Blue Shield of California president and CEO Paul Markovich couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it. Markovich envisions the industry moving forward substantially in the near future by promoting better outcomes through healthier payer-provider relationships.

Markovich discussed these next steps this week during the “Cleared for Takeoff: Health Pilots & Partnerships” panel at HLTH 22 in Las Vegas. He was joined by Alisha Alaimo, president of Biogen’s U.S. Organization, Arpa Garay, chief commercial officer of Moderna, and Ralph de la Torre, chief execuive officer of Steward Healthcare Systems.

Markovich shared how Blue Shield of California measures and tracks its outcomes with its partners, noting that there must be a continuing focus on the actual process it takes to get there. A key piece of that process, according to Markovich, is true alignment on both sides.

“We look for strong philosophical alignment at the top of the organization. Health care is hard. Every part of the value chain is hard,” Markovich said. “You can try to put some things in a contract, but you aren’t going to be able to address every single thing that comes up with your partner in a contract. So, it’s important that you see the world similarly, that you’re in this together, and that it's truly a partnership.”

Markovich notes that achieving outcomes must be rewarded. If there is a real benefit for both payers and providers to truly put their best foot forward, then positive outcomes will continue to be seen at a higher rate.

A vital part of this two-way relationship is providing quality care at realistic, affordable costs.

“We have to align around incentives. We've got to get a place where the physician and hospitals and the other end of the value chain get rewarded for delivering efficient, cost-effective, high-quality, high-service care,” Markovich said. “When that happens, we're all rowing in the same direction.”

Markovich added that as long as reducing costs comes only at the expense of revenue for a provider, both sides will remain at odds.

However, Markovich remains encouraged by the future of digital health and the opportunity to work alongside some of the top providers in the space. Still, his message to them remains clear on what needs to happen for partnerships to take another step forward.

“Health care costs too damn much – help us make it more affordable,” he said.