St. Paul, Minn., and St. Louis — As insurers play a large role in the overall environment of healthcare, they may want to stay abreast of the innovations within the industry. The Center for Health Value Innovation, with a mission to identify the evidence of health improvement through investment in incentives and innovation by employers and health plans, can help them do that.

The St. Louis-based Center recently gathered its directors to discuss emerging trends relevant to health improvement and innovation—focusing on two main issues: global health initiatives or medical tourism, which was presented by Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Trigram America; and data security and privacy, presented by St. Louis-based Crystal IT.

The Center will continue to promote these invitation-only conversations, and bring the information to the market, says Cyndy Nayer, president of the Center. “The goal is to improve health status of the populations and reduce health cost inflation through appropriate resource use. To that end, innovators must stay ahead of the curve, consider emerging technologies and understand how they fit into value-based decisions.”

Seven innovators from companies of varying sizes participated in the discussions—from trust funds and health plans to municipalities and large and small employers. They meet regularly to consider ideas and explore opportunities for application within their companies, discuss challenges of use and acceptance, and anticipated hiccups for coordination.

Trigram America, an educational company helping payers and purchasers make benefits decisions for overseas medical treatment, investigates providers and institutions overseas and reports back to payers on quality, efficiency, continuity of care and outcomes, assessing the right “fit” for the purchasers. Center innovators considered the presentation and agreed that:

• Earliest wins would be in the global employer networks
• Reduction in cost would only matter if there were strong standards of quality that mirrored or surpassed those in the United States (such as JCI accreditation)
• Short-term (immediate results) and long-term (complications and follow-up care/corrections) will be important to the decisions
• Total cost of care, including companion travel, transmission of data and follow up treatment at home will be critical information for the selling cycle

The presentation on data security and privacy provided an internal overview to the recent health information security breaches that have been publicized. Crystal IT was developed by a former U. S. Marine and homeland security expert in data technology, with an interoperable suite of solutions for multi-dimensional security to close what the U.S. Homeland Security Agency calls a national terrorist threat: theft of health information. Again, innovators provided a 360-degree review of presentation:

• Recognition that a data security threat is pervasive in current health information systems
• Review of more serious breaches in the current structure and impact on liability
• Standards for assessment are necessary
• Commitment to check with internal IT experts on how security is monitored and guarded
• There’s a need for improved technology and security as e-health initiatives grow and the link to the financial institutions becomes more evident in health management (through health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, health debit cards and health identity/membership cards)

Source: Business Wire

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