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|Spring 2006 Update
Is it too good to be true? A growing number of experts and in-visionaries who have discovered MedEncentive ask me what our biggest challenge is. They assume I will mention some technical or operational issue or resistance by some special interest group. Or perhaps I will point to a financial or organizational or logistical or legal matter. Sure, there are complexities and specifics of our business that challenge us each day, but none of them compare to our biggest challenge. A challenge that rings clear as a bell for those of us who have been steeped in the frustrations of the health care industry. Very simply, our most daunting obstacle is the pervasive opinion among health care decision-makers that MedEncentive is just too good to be true. How can a solution that seems so simple be effective? Furthermore, since it seems so simple why didn't someone else develop it long ago?
Now don't get me wrong, I completely understand how health care decision-makers can assume that MedEncentive is too good to be true. I happen to be considered somewhat of an expert in the field and a longtime health care decision-maker. I too have grown cynical over the colossal failures to reform health care and rein-in runaway medical inflation. I too have been persuaded at times that there was simply “nothin' new under the sun.”
Having identified with my cynical brethren, bear with me while I explain why MedEncentive is both very good and very true. First, MedEncentive may seem simple but it is really much more complex than meets the eye at first glance. Its complexities and subtleties will be topics for future e-Updates. Second, MedEncentive could not exist if it weren't for the advent of the Internet, evidence-based medicine (EBM) in the form of informatics, and the concepts of information therapy (Ix) and pay-for-performance (P4P). We liken these elements to the active ingredients of the MedEncentive Program. And the facts are that all of these active ingredients have only been in existence for a relatively short period of time. So no one could have invented the MedEncentive solution long ago.
Finally, EBM and Ix have been proven to improve the quality of care and lower health costs in controlled studies. In other words, MedEncentive does not intend to prove to our cynical friends that EBM and Ix work. Others with better credentials have provided this proof. What we must prove is the following: “MedEncentive is the missing ingredient that unleashes the quality improving and cost containing capabilities of EBM and Ix by making these elements attractive to physicians, patients and payers through an effective system of interactive incentives.” Repeat that ten times, then read our soon to be released “Duncan Study” and everyone will realize that MedEncentive is “not” too good to be true.
The following are some of MedEncentive's highlights for the late winter and early spring 2006:
First and Only
MedEncentive's First and Only – To distill the significance MedEncentive's accomplishments to a sound bite is difficult. One admirer suggested we try the following:“In multiple trials, MedEncentive is the first and only pay-for-performance solution to have demonstrated widespread physician acceptance, interactive patient involvement and documented return on investment in the form of cost containment.” The soon to be released “City of Duncan Study” will provide supporting evidence.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Center for Health Improvement Interviews MedEncentive – Representatives from RWJF and CHI traveled to Oklahoma City to interview MedEncentive and other community leaders in conjunction with RWJF's project to identify innovative community-wide quality improvement initiatives. Oklahoma City was one of five communities (Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis, and Seattle) selected by RWJF and CHI to be interviewed. It is an honor to take part in this important endeavor. We want to thank Dr. Michael Anderson, Presbyterian Health Foundation CEO, for hosting our interview.
MedEncentive is Featured on NBC Affiliate – In April, KFOR Channel 4, Oklahoma City's NBC affiliate, produced a nice feature on MedEncentive and our INTEGRIS Health implementation. Apparently, the feature was also broadcast in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market on the local NBC affiliate. The interest in MedEncentive is expanding. We plan to add this news article to our website, soon.
INTEGRIS Health Implementation Progresses – The MedEncentive implementation with INTEGRIS Health recently completed its first quarter. The installation is progressing very well. Physician participation levels have exceeded expectations, running 15% to 20% higher than any of the trial installations. Patient participation levels and ratings are also exceeding trial performance. Our student interns have conducted informal patient surveys and report positive results. The focus of the second quarter will be on additional participant education and implementing the new automated physician and patient reminder systems.
Newt Gingrich Learns About MedEncentive – Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, through his Center for Health Transformation, is a committed champion of progressive health care reform. In March, Speaker Gingrich participated in a health forum panel discussion in Oklahoma City. Fellow panelist Matt Robison of the State Chamber described our program during the discussion. As it has been related to us from multiple sources, Speaker Gingrich announced that, “The one thing I am taking with me from Oklahoma is MedEncentive.” We are following-up with the Speaker and his organization.
Medicare Update: CMS Chief Requests a MedEncentive Update – While in Washington in March, Jim Dempster had the occasion to meet Dr. Mark McClellan, Administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As has been reported in previous e-Updates, Dr. McClellan is familiar with MedEncentive. He asked Jim to arrange an update. A meeting is being planned with assistance from Senator Tom Coburn's office.
Separately, planning meetings are being conducted with Drs. Peter Budetti and Bob Roswell at the College of Public Health and College of Medicine, and with the local physicians to complete the Medicare pay-for-performance proposal featuring MedEncentive. The pace of this project will quicken through the coming months.
AMA Pay-for-Performance Physician Leader Introduced to MedEncentive at TIPAAA – Dr. John Armstrong, the American Medical Association's lead physician and spokesperson on pay-for-performance, was a keynote speaker at The IPA Association of America National Convention in Las Vegas in April. Jim Dempster had the occasion to introduce MedEncentive to Dr. Armstrong over dinner. Dr. Armstrong was impressed and wants us to present to the AMA leadership.
MedEncentive Signs Brokerage Agreement with Kansas City Agency – On April 18th, MedEncentive signed brokerage agreement with Enable Health, LLC of Overland Park, Kansas. Enable Health's President Michael Samms recently completed training in Oklahoma City and has numerous high profile prospects in the Kansas City area.
OU Physicians and the Oklahoma State Employee Health Plan – Three planning sessions were conducted during the last quarter with OU Physicians and the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board (OSEEGIB) in anticipation of offering MedEncentive to state employees as a two year demonstration project authorized by Senate Bill 896. The planning participants report good progress toward launching this important project next January.
Sales Activity – The market is entering the period of the year when health plans and self-insured employers are preparing for health benefit changes that will be implemented in January. We are in various stages of discussions with a significant number of large and influential prospective customers and expect to make important announcements in this regard through the summer months. The message has become more straight-forward:“Employers who want to offer a morale boosting benefit to their employees and reduce the escalation of health care costs are adopting the MedEncentive Program.” It is not often that business leaders can offer a health benefit that will make both employees and stockholders happy.
• The Advisory Board Company – Jeff Greene made a presentation to management and staff at the Advisory Board Company offices in Washington, D.C. in February. Attendees were particularly interested in how our program impacts hospitals and strategies for hospitals in the burgeoning pay-for-performance movement. The American Hospital Association is one of ABC's largest accounts.
• Region I Physician Association – Jeff presented to RIPA and invited guests in Toledo early in the quarter. We have had licensure discussions since the presentation. A follow-up meeting is planned for May 9.
• Oklahoma County Medical Society – MedEncentive provided the meeting program for the Society in February. The meeting was well attended and the message was very well received.
• New Enterprise Association and VenRock – Dr. Lloyd Hildebrand, Cliff Winburn and Jeff Greene presented the MedEncentive story to NEA and VenRock in Menlo Park, California in March. Dr. Hildebrand led the presentations and remains in contact with these highly respected venture capital firms. We are in the process of scheduling meetings with others.
• KTOK Talk Radio – Jeff Greene and INTEGRIS Health's CEO, Stan Hupfeld, will be guests on KTOK, a local talk radio station in late April.
• Ohio Academy of Family Physicians – Jeff will be making a presentation to OAFP in Columbus on May 13.
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