Robert Pearl, M.D. Urges a New Approach to Create Value-Driven Health Care

Keynote Speech Cites Physician-Driven Innovation and Technologies
to Re-invent Health Care Delivery

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#IQLconference–With health care now 18 percent1 of the Gross National
Product and climbing each year, Robert Pearl, M.D., keynote speaker for
the American
Medical Group Association 2016 Institute for Quality Leadership (IQL)
, underscored the innovative and disruptive thinking
needed among physician leaders to transform health care delivery and
achieve the Triple Aim.

“Economics, not politics, is ultimately the most powerful driving force
in health care today,” noted Pearl, who is chairman of the Council
of Accountable Physician Practices
(CAPP), a coalition of
high-performing multi-specialty medical groups and health systems, as
well as CEO of The
Permanente Medical Group
and president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic
Permanente Medical Group
. “If we change the structure, modify how
care is reimbursed, and embrace 21st century technology, we can improve
quality and access, while at the same time lowering the cost of health
care delivery overall. For example, through capitated payments,
financial incentives will reward keeping people healthy, encourage
prevention, maximize patient safety, and lead physicians to diagnose
sooner and treat more effectively.”

During his presentation, Pearl noted that attempts to change the health
care cost equation in the past focused on reducing access to care,
rationing medical care or reducing provider payment. None have proven
effective, and all decrease quality and patient satisfaction. He
supports the movement towards payment based on value, rather than
volume, and recommends that the nation stay the course.

As part of the shift, he outlined various opportunities for clinical and
operational improvements. Examples included approaches to reduce the
time between surgeries and ways to minimize hospital care delays over
weekend days. Pearl cited the success of the various CAPP medical groups
in implementing digital communications and electronic connectivity as
the types of innovations that have lowered operating costs across
multiple sectors when implemented through large, physician-led
multi-specialty medical groups. Similar innovative applications need to
be widespread in health care in order to flatten the trajectory of
health care inflation across the entire nation.

Pearl cited three specific technologies that are changing the way health
care is delivered, including improving quality while reducing cost:

  • Video and digital photography which enable physicians to
    diagnose patients remotely and secure appropriate care immediately.
    One example of this technology in action is the use of video
    consultation with a neurologist to quickly evaluate a patient in the
    emergency department who might be having a stroke. This practice has
    already reduced the time for a patient to receive appropriate
    treatment by 50 percent.
  • Data analytics which can identify groups of patients and
    individuals who are at risk for specific conditions, or who require
    additional care.
  • Use of the electronic medical record not just as a repository
    of data, but as a communication tool between health care providers.
    This technology enables the best patient care decisions to be made at
    every point in the care continuum.

“When payment is tied to patient outcomes, and the re-engineering of
health care delivery is led by physicians, we will see a reduction in
the inefficient fragmentation that is so costly today, and improvement
in the quality of care that patients receive,” concluded Pearl.

For information on patients’ experience of coordinated care and the use
of technology with their doctors, see results from two Nielsen Strategic
Health Perspective Surveys from 2015
and 2016,
sponsored by CAPP. For more information on accountable care, visit the
CAPP website.

To learn more about physician leadership in the work to achieve
accountable care, and to receive updates on key health care issues,
follow CAPP on Twitter at: @accountableDOCS.

About the Council of Accountable Physician

The Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP), an affiliate of
the AMGA Foundation, is a coalition of visionary medical group and
health system leaders. We believe that physicians working together,
backed by integrated services, systems and data and technology, can
best shape and guide the way care is delivered so that the welfare of
the patient is always the primary focus. For more information, contact

1 WhiteHouse.Gov, “The Economic Care for Health Care Reform,”
accessed November 21, 2016,


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Joy Scott, 818-610-0270