Following a post-pandemic year that’s pushed the healthcare industry to redefine the new normal — including Blue Shield of California’s launch of Pharmacy Care Reimagined — we asked the health plan’s senior executives to predict what’s ahead in 2024.
“After the last few years navigating through the pandemic, it’s been challenging to be in health care,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield. “However, as we move forward, 2024 is the first year in the last several where we are positioned to deliver on some major strategic initiatives, which ultimately bring us closer to achieving our goal of creating a healthcare system that is worthy of our family and friends and sustainably affordable for everyone.”
Paul Markovich, president and chief executive officer
Prediction: We have reached a tipping point in health care where those who want to lead and succeed must bring value and make the system better for everyone, or risk being left behind.
In 2024, I think we will see significant transformation in three priority areas: paying for value, disrupting the pharmacy value chain, and bringing health care into the digital age. We can’t afford to wait to challenge the status quo in these areas, and those who do will truly help usher in a new era of health care.
Sandra Clarke, executive vice president and chief operating officer
Prediction: Pharmacy Care Reimagined will disrupt the traditional prescription drug model to keep rising prices down.
I am most excited to watch Pharmacy Care Reimagined come to life in 2024 as we implement the first phase of the vision we announced this August, to curb the rising costs of prescription drugs. Our long-term plan calls for transforming the end-to-end prescription drug ecosystem; investing in personal, high-quality experiences for our members, providers and pharmacists; and activating these strategies with investment in technology and data.
Lisa Davis, executive vice president and chief information officer
Prediction: Artificial intelligence will enable a new level of collaboration in health care, putting member care first.
The promise of generative artificial intelligence is real, and I’m interested to see this technology take off in the healthcare industry in 2024, as policymakers and healthcare organizations align on parameters for its use. I’m hopeful we can all work together and always remember to keep humans as part of the process as we explore its benefits. For example, we could speed up operations processes internally to provide faster time to care and services for our members by streamlining prior authorization. We’re also excited to continue to build more digital, real-time capabilities in the cloud that improve the member and provider experience with key technology partners such as Microsoft and Salesforce.
Hope Scott, Esq., executive vice president, general counsel
Prediction: Blue Shield will continue to innovate new ways to reach underserved communities with high-quality health care.
In 2024, the continued focus on reducing the overall cost of health care will drive both improvements in quality of care and affordability by leveraging data and technology in secure and user-friendly ways. But without significant improvements to access to care, even high-quality, affordable health care will remain out of reach for many people. Blue Shield Promise Health Plan’s focus on bringing healthcare resources to the communities we serve through Community Resource Centers, and new technologies and tools our members and their providers can easily use to communicate about their healthcare needs, will be a significant focus and opportunity for the coming year.
Peter Long, executive vice president, Strategy and Health Solutions
Prediction: We will make health care and health insurance much easier to use, create more value every day for our members, and work closely with providers to enable greater access to high-quality care.
Blue Shield will continue to push the healthcare system toward innovative approaches that will bring down costs and improve care. In 2023, we introduced Pharmacy Care Reimagined to disrupt the traditional prescription drug model by 2025. Next year, we will continue to advocate for new payment models and value-based care initiatives in the same way. Both of those initiatives require greater participation – with collaborators inside and outside of the healthcare system – to make true, tangible progress. We are on a mission to close care gaps and reduce health disparities.
Kristen Cerf, president and chief executive officer at Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan
Prediction: We will prioritize understanding of social drivers of health and drive a more equitable healthcare system.
Understanding and addressing social drivers of health — the areas of a person’s history, environment or social situation that can impact their well-being — can help us ensure our members receive timely, appropriate care. These drivers include education, housing, food, transportation and more. Helping individuals and families overcome these barriers is key to helping them achieve better health outcomes, lowering costs and creating a more equitable healthcare system for all. California’s Department of Health Care Services has cemented health equity as a cornerstone of their efforts to innovate in Medi-Cal, but it truly has a huge impact on the well-being and improved health outcomes for all Californians. It’s thrilling to see these efforts prioritized in Medi-Cal and how we effect positive change in the diverse communities we serve.
Dr. Ravi Kavasery, deputy chief medical officer
Prediction: Blue Shield will focus our efforts on affordability and health equity.
The biggest challenge for the healthcare industry next year, and always, is affordability of high-quality health care. There is an increased focus on collaboration, to push deeper alignment of appropriate incentives among regulators, payers, providers and members. We need this alignment for value in health care – across quality, member experience, affordability and health equity. This is not just for mission-driven nonprofit health plans like Blue Shield, but all key stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem that operate in the state, whose partnership and alignment we will need if we are going to transform payment models and the delivery system.
Haley Mixon, senior vice president, chief human resources officer
Prediction: We can change the landscape of mental health, both in health care and at our organization.
In the healthcare industry, I would like to see us alleviate the mental health provider shortage by incentivizing providers to stay in network and encouraging more graduates and professionals to enter the field. By integrating high-quality mental health care services throughout our members’ healthcare touchpoints, they would have holistic access to the care they need. External shifts, such as prolonged economic hardships, hybrid work environments, and increased focus on belonging and mental health, continue to impact how we attract, develop and retain key talent. We anticipate more interest in solutions to improve cost, quality, service and outcomes.
In 2024, we’re also looking forward to more in-person connection and engagement among our employees. Blue Shield is taking a modest approach to return to offices, and I am looking forward to collaborating more in-person while maximizing productivity and engagement.
Debbie Chang, president and chief executive officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation
Prediction: With the National Plan to End-Gender Based Violence being implemented in California, our state will lead the way in ending domestic violence.
In 2024, we are collaborating with other leading organizations to support the implementation of the National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence in California. We have a golden opportunity right now to make our state a model for the nation. This will be a year of deepening connections with the Foundation’s grantee partners across the state. We are working together to spread and scale the solutions, policy changes and systems changes that improve the lives of Californians of color with low incomes and, ultimately, achieve our mission to end domestic violence and make California the healthiest state.