San Francisco Business Times Future of Health Care

Last week, we attended the San Francisco Business Times’ annual Future of Health Care breakfast. The theme this year was innovators and disruptors.

In the $3 trillion healthcare industry, trying to disrupt or even make a dent in the current ways. However, there are significant changes in the healthcare industry that necessitate innovation. These trends include the movement away from medical care happening primarily on site to being in the home or via telehealth. There is an increasing rate of chronic illness, and we need to be assessing ways to treat chronic illness before it leads to emergent situations. Healthcare users need to feel that healthcare is not a burden to their lives, as it is so often seen. We all dread waiting in doctor’s offices, only to be seen way after our appointment time and for only a brief amount of time. Another point that was made, was that in the migration toward value based care, the measure of value is not usually the patient’s measure of value.

However, despite the need for healthcare innovation, there are many barriers to implementing new ways of doing things. Usually, healthcare organizations are large, slow-moving organizations. It takes a long time for these organizations to make innovation decisions, let alone implement the decisions. Healthcare organizations, at the frustration of the disruptors, don’t move fast enough. It is entirely possible that by the time a healthcare organization implements an “innovative” system, it is time for another round of innovation.

This event is one that we look forward to every year because of the interesting discussion regarding the healthcare system as a whole.

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Our Fifth Annual Benchmark Report: Coming Soon

It’s an exciting time at MD Ranger headquarters in Burlingame, California. Over the past four months, we have collected thousands of contracts from our 200+ subscribers across the US. In preparation for publishing our annual benchmark report (coming soon!), we’ve been auditing our data and working around the clock to ensure our data is reported accurately.

One of the reasons why we’ve been able to produce high quality data year after year is our rigorous data auditing process. We like to be transparent, so I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you how we whip our data into shape.

First, we review all data that comes in from subscribers as soon as it comes.  This allows us to look at the hospitals’ contracts holistically, and in relation to all other contracts at the hospital. This makes it easy to catch if there’s a strange number of contracts (say, three medical directors of radiation oncology on one campus), or if there’s a strange per diem (say, $5,000 for family practice coverage that probably is $500 instead). We run updates on our database internally, to check and see if our data is changing (and if so, by how much).

As we get closer to production time, we start auditing our data by service.  What this means is that we take an entire service, say general surgery call coverage, and we look at each contract within the service for errors. We pay special attention to outliers (especially high or low contracts), as well as statistics that have changed from last year’s published data.  As our database grows larger and more diverse, the more stable it becomes.

Questions about our auditing process?  Shoot me a note at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Future of Health Care Leadership Summit

MD Ranger attended “The Future of Health Care Leadership Summit” in San Francisco this morning. This annual event is produced by the San Francisco Business Times, and is always a big hit among the business and health care community in the Bay Area.

Today’s panelists were:

Mark Laret, CEO, UCSF Medical Center
Paul Markovich, CEO, Blue Shield of California
Dr. Tom Lee, CEO, One Medical Group
David Joyner, COO, Hill Physicians Medical Group
Wade Overgaard, Senior Vice President, Health Plan Operations, California, Kaiser Permanente

The discussion revolved around topics of health care affordability and sustainability, and how technology could help us achieve both. Because the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is in such early stages, it is still difficult to predict effects of this major transformation.  Interestingly, no provider was comfortable reporting seeing an influx of patients with expanded coverage, nor did they comment on any changes to payer mixes or any other effects of the exchanges. They were still in “wait and see” mode.

The specific types of technologies mentioned to decrease the costs of healthcare have to do directly with the consumer. Telemedicine was heralded as important contributor to lowering healthcare costs and accessibility challenges. Handheld mobile devices could be the key to further innovation for consumer education, marketing, and and even treatment.  Why hasn’t healthcare already embraced these technologies that have been critical for innovation in other industries?  According to panelists, reimbursement must keep up with the changing pace of technology and health care. The argument was that provider will adopt a technology if there isn’t a way to get paid for it.

The panelists imagined seeing both cost savings and patient satisfaction increase when care is coordinated across the continuum, with an emphasis on customizing the message. While the panelists urged communicating to consumers in a personalized fashion, no solutions discussed on how exactly to do this.


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