Notes from the Healthcare Symposium


What we learned from “Healthcare Strategy and Leadership for the Millennial Generation” by Patrick Michael Plummer, BSBME, MBA, DBA

He first tasked the audience to open their minds by asking: “What if you could completely redesign how healthcare was delivered without worrying about any baggage from our current system? What would you do?” Its likely goals would be to raise quality, lower cost, and improve delivery.

Touching on the heart of his Millennial target, he referenced the 80 million 21-36 years olds who are the generation majority. He says, “Amazon shaped their experience of service and they’ve grown up with Google. They’re used to transparency and have the knowledge available to make smart buying decisions.” Plummer reiterated Millennials’ desire for speed and performance and the increasing progression of their expectations as consumers. Simply stated: No personal interaction, no problem.

His thesis: Creating patient value is the primary basis for sustainable competitive advantage over the next twenty years…and Millennial influence will largely define that value. His “Top 5 Characteristics of Millennials” includes:

1. Influencers

They’re the majority generation and there’s a high priority placed on value as perceived by the customer. Millennials are the influencers and they’re setting the trends for the future of healthcare.

2. Provider Costs

Millennials are paying high deductibles so price transparency is important. Millennials, more than any other generation, are more willing to do what it takes to lower their costs. This includes changing providers and waiting to meet deductibles.

3. Convenience & Speed

72% of Millennials use free on-demand television services. 40% of Millennial men surveyed said buying everything online would be ideal. When asked to rate what matters most in a healthcare environment, wait time was ranked first and the average wait time was 30 minutes. When that wait time jumped to 60 minutes, the ranking went from #1 to #39.

4. Tech-Savvy and Early Adopters

Millennials will continue to be quick to use new technologies including wearable sensors, apps for healthcare plans, and interactive telemedicine. As a group, they are technologically skilled and want quick, relevant, and hassle-free solutions that can be easily integrated into their lives.

5. Compelled to Share: Compete for the ‘Like’

Millennials prioritize convenience, technology, and service. In a recent study, 70% of Millennials feel a responsibility to share feedback about their experience. Healthcare companies cannot control this and will have to join the 24/7 conversation while sharing their expertise and brand in that continuing dialogue. Healthcare providers will, in turn, need to treat clients as consumers.


What we learned from the panel discussion”Caring for the Whole Person”

The panel included:

Catherine McCarron, Vice President of Clinical Programs with Health Partners Plans

Paul Manos, DDS, Dental Director with United Concordia Dental

Joshua H. Bennett, MD, MBA, Interim Chief Medical Officer with Virba Health Plan

Loren K. Robinson, MD, MSHP, FAAP, Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Here’s were some of the questions posed to the panel:

How does “Caring for the Whole Person” change the approach for patients and providers?

We talked about fee for service. How are those payment models adapting and are they adapting fast enough?

How do you encourage providers to think about integration?

Does this approach lower costs? Where is there evidence of its effectiveness? (The panel mentioned that motivation for behavior change across all platforms is necessary and shared success stories of those with social determinants.)


What we learned from the panel discussion “Telemedicine”

The panel included:

Glenn W. Mitchell, MD, Professor of Healthcare Informatics at the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

Jay Simmons, Vice President, Provider of Network Engagement at Capital BlueCross

Bill J. Hepfinger, Area Vice President at Teladoc, Inc.


Here were some of the questions (and responses) posed to the panel:

Is the biggest problem with telemedicine growth management or adoption of technology and usage?

(The panel said it’s about encouraging use and ultimately understanding the way humans process information. “When you grew up with a phone in your crib,” Mitchell quipped, “it’s about providing a human computer interface.”)

What other obstacles exist?

People worry who is on the other end, if the doctors have licensure, and how to handle malpractice over the airwaves. While the perception to many is that high-tech is what’s best, the panel stated patients want technology that works, access to quality care, simple solutions with fewer steps, and straightforward results and diagnoses that don’t require follow-up care.

Who are the doctors? Where are the doctors?

There are many doctors with many companies. Hepfinger stated that his company has all board-certified and state-registered doctors with a minimum of fifteen years of experience in family, pediatrics, or general medicine.

Will doctors specialize in telemedicine or face-to-face medicine or will there be more fragmentation in the industry?

The panel said doctors are doing both right now. Mitchell mentioned there’s no measurement for dollars per outcome and noted medical schools aren’t producing as many primary care doctors… but rather specialists.

What is the role of technology in caring for the whole person?

“It’s Uber. It’s Amazon. It’s everything of convenience,” Mitchell said. Simmons gave an example of how consulting a mental health specialist could be done from inside the comfort of someone’s home. Mitchell added a personal example: His daughter, who lives in Philadelphia, Skypes with her children’s pediatrician and never has to drive to an office, waste gas, or worry about the kids fighting with one another in the car.

What does the future hold? What technologies might follow?

“It’s about being connected,” Mitchell said as he gave three examples of what the future might look like. “It’s about getting the doctor out of the way and making room for tech devices.” He mentioned a toothbrush that could measure your blood glucose levels, a bandage that can scan for infection, and a medicine tray that weighs medicines so if you haven’t taken them it sends you reminder texts and will, if the load isn’t lightened, eventually call your doctor.


And finally, the Healthcare Symposium ended with keynote speaker Jessica Altman, the Acting Commissioner with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department and her thoughts on the Affordable Care Act. “The Affordable Care Act is not perfect,” she said. “But it’s not failing outright.”