In a new episode of Cadence Conversations, Aaron Lewis, EVP, Growth and Integrated Solutions at LifePoint Health, spoke with Cadence CEO Chris Altchek on the one year anniversary of Cadence's partnership with LifePoint Health.
The conversation took place on the sidelines of a panel discussion at the American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Diego, where Altchek and Lewis discussed the promising initial data surrounding the partnership, including improved clinical outcomes, improved clinical efficiency, lower cost of care, and increased patient satisfaction and retention.
Over the course of the podcast, Lewis celebrated the early success of the partnership and provided more detail about some of these early outcomes.
"Some of the comments we hear from patients, some of the testimonials, are just unbelievable. It's life changing," Lewis said. "And then to do that in a way that is a very satisfying engagement, it's hard to figure out any data point that's not exciting. When all of those work together, you truly have a solution, I think that gives you comfort that we're doing things the right way. We're driving clinical outcomes in a way that consumers love to engage."
By entering into partnership one year ago, Cadence and LifePoint set out to show that remote patient monitoring (RPM) and virtual care could be used to vastly improve health outcomes for seniors with chronic conditions, by delivering consistent, proactive healthcare outside the walls of the hospital. The goal of the partnership was to use technology to deliver better health outcomes, increase access and equity across the country, support overburdened clinicians, increase margins, and lower the cost of care.
According to Lewis, the feedback from LifePoint physicians and patients thus far has been overwhelmingly positive.
"The patient feedback has been so just overwhelmingly strong. As I think about the way physicians think about change and even whether it's a referral source or a new solution, they care about their patients deeply. If they can provide a solution to their patients that drives a better outcome, improves metrics, as well as a really positive experience, that they'll do that all day long," Lewis shared.
"What we've heard from the physicians who have engaged is not only an overwhelming response as to the way that it has been received, but also, I think a little surprised, with regard to the clinical outcomes that have been driven by the product, by the solution and the team ultimately around it."
Looking toward the future, Cadence and LifePoint will continue to focus on creating a modern and seamless patient experience that improves access to care and patient outcomes, while also reducing overburden for physicians. "The orientation around this solution expanding the way our providers and our physicians deliver care differently is really critical, as we think about overburdened clinicians and really empowering the focus at the top of their license," Lewis said.
As the partnership continues to evolve to serve patients with new conditions, add new devices, and help drive new payor contracts and models, Cadence and LifePoint will continue to remain focused on the north star: making a positive impact on the health of patients with chronic conditions across the United States.
"As I go back to the population we wanted to impact, I always put my mom in these settings. If my mom were one of these chronic patients, there is no doubt in my mind, this is the right type of care for her," Lewis said.
Listen above to the entire conversation and be sure to subscribe to Cadence Conversations wherever you get your podcasts in order to listen to future episodes. Cadence Conversations features prominent physicians, healthcare leaders, and tech entrepreneurs discussing their experiences driving innovation and progress.
Previous episodes include Dr. David Shulkin, 9th Secretary, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs discussing the future of remote patient monitoring (RPM), healthcare investor and CEO of Rubicon Founders Adam Boehler discussing how to build an impactful healthcare business, and Dr. Toby Cosgrove, former President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic and currently an Executive Advisor to a number of startups, discussing how to ensure effective partnerships between health systems and technology companies.
Read the full transcript of the conversation below:
Table of contents
- Delivering Higher Quality Care with Better Outcomes
- Nationwide Healthcare Delivery Network
- Delivering Remote Care at Scale
- Importance of the Feedback Loop in Implementing Remote Care
- 1-Year Clinical Impact of RPM Program
- First-Hand Patient Experience with Remote Care Program
- Onboarding New Physicians to Remote Care Platform
- Innovation Lessons from Health System Partnership
Chris Altchek (CA): Aaron, thanks so much for joining me today, on the sidelines of the American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Diego. Maybe let's just start off, I'd love to hear, what are some of the main priorities for LifePoint today?
Delivering higher quality care with better outcomes
Aaron Lewis (AL): Chris, I appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation. So, as I think about where we're really focused, core operations and making communities healthier, is obviously at the front and center of everything we do. It's our mission. It's what we wake up and why we do the work we do.
How do we do that differently and drive higher quality, better outcomes, more access for our community members?
That happens a lot of different ways. I think that happens through recruiting providers through community. That happens through bread and butter operations, to make sure that nurses love coming to our hospital to work, clinicians want to be at the bedside, providing care in our communities and our facilities. Ultimately it's thinking about how we do things differently.
As we reflect back on the last couple of years, that have been very, very challenging from a healthcare perspective, with COVID, I think both personally and professionally for a lot of people, one of the things that stays top of mind for me, is that we had to find different ways to live and work during the COVID pandemic.
I think one of the dynamics that's important for me is that element of thinking differently, inclusive discussion around how we do things differently, is always in the fabric of what we do.
So we drive that through different operational strategies. We drive that through, how do we leverage remote care teams, partnerships such as ours, that truly augments the way we deliver care. As we align with clinicians and nurses and primary care providers and all of the different folks at the bedside and in the therapy rooms, it is so core for us to make sure that we are driving solutions that allow us to take care of our patients in a different way, a better way, and making sure that we can keep people close to home for their care.
Nationwide healthcare delivery network
CA: I don't think people quite appreciate the scope and scale of the operation at LifePoint that you guys are leading. Just to give people a sense for how massive and impressive LifePoint is today, can you just share with the audience what LifePoint looks like across the country and what kinds of healthcare services you deliver?
AL: So, I think about LifePoint as a truly diversified healthcare delivery network. We have over 50,000 employees that are taking care of patients on a daily basis.
We have 3,000 employed providers, about 1,500 physicians, in 28 states across the country. We serve 63 community hospital campuses within those 28 states, more than 30 rehab and behavioral health hospitals in the pipeline of future growth, both through current partnerships and new partnerships. That it feels like we announce some new relationship or new facility on a weekly basis, is incredibly exciting.
Over 170 managed acute rehab units, outpatient centers, post-acute facilities and other sites of care, as I think about almost a thousand geographic locations of all of our physician practices. It's a really large scope.
So taking that lens, there's a lot of need to have solutions that can scale. At the same time, each community is different. So how do we find this perfect mixture of solutions that again, can cover the entire nation very quickly, and we can drive local autonomy, local nuances? Because the patients in Missoula, Montana are a different community than Florence, Alabama and everywhere in between.
Delivering remote care at scale
CA: We were here today to talk about the one year mark since Cadence and LifePoint launched our partnership. Our goal when we started was, how do we deliver remote care to over 100,000 people living with chronic conditions, across the LifePoint footprint. Can you share a little bit about what LifePoint set out to accomplish with the partnership? What are some of the key goals that you identified initially, when you were selecting Cadence?
AL: Yeah. I think as we, again, try to prioritize where we spend time, energy and resources, you have to pick somewhere to start. The chronic population in our practices was such a large group that we knew we could deliver better care to.
You go back to my initial comment, as to how we do things differently. So, really jumping into this relationship with an expectation that not only would we improve outcomes, but we could also augment the way we deliver care.
One of the things that resonates in my mind, through conversations we've had with providers, is the panel size has grown the ability to provide access. I may see Aaron in my practice once every month, where I used to see him every week and that's because of the scalable model. So, it's really knocking out of the park, with regard to what we set out to try to impact.
As I think about some high level goals, it was one of those elements around improving and increasing healthcare access, equity and quality is core to making communities healthier. As we think about a lot of solutions that we have focused on, it's usually from a consumer perspective. How do we provide online scheduling, so consumers can access our providers?
The orientation around this solution expanding the way our providers and our physicians deliver care differently is really critical, as we think about overburdened clinicians and really empowering the focus at the top of their license. It was right down the middle, with regard to those perspectives.
I think then, the other couple pieces around moving toward this value-based care that we talked about so often, this is a way that we think about continuing to really, in a fee-for-service world, provide a service and conduct business that really starts to train and hone that fee-for-value muscle.
As we think about also, where we're talking, this works for our employed providers. This works really well within our CINs, where we have aligned providers, both on the employed side, as well as independent, that have oriented themselves in these CIN networks. The energy is really high around this type of solution in those settings.
And then ultimately, we have to think about driving down the total cost of care, in addition to making sure that we're driving margins and being responsible in the way that we deliver that care.
But again, ultimately, as I go back to the population we wanted to impact, I always put my mom in these settings. If my mom were one of these chronic patients, there is no doubt in my mind, this is the right type of care for her.
It spans the way we can provide access through our current footprint and really expand and keep people closer home.
Importance of the feedback loop in implementing remote care
CA: Before we talk about the patient impact, we know that these kinds of programs are only successful if clinicians adopt, if clinicians love it, if it's truly easy and makes clinician lives better. Can you tell us a little bit about what you're hearing from your clinician partners at LifePoint?
AL: It goes to the core of scaling is change management. I think the concept of having 1,500 physicians across the country, all of which are at a different point in their career, have been trained at different locations, learned under different mentors, the concept of some piece of technology helping share information about patients and me not seeing my chronic patients on a weekly basis, I think is foreign for some and makes all the sense in the world for others. So, getting past that and continuing to refine the way we have these conversations.
The patient feedback has been so just overwhelmingly strong. As I think about the way physicians think about change and even whether it's a referral source or a new solution, they care about their patients deeply.
If they can provide a solution to their patients that drives a better outcome, improves metrics, as well as a really positive experience, that they'll do that all day long. So what we've heard from the physicians who have engaged is not only an overwhelming response as to the way that it has been received, but also, I think a little surprised, with regard to the clinical outcomes that have been driven by the product, by the solution and the team ultimately around it.
CA: It's been awesome to see that, as the physicians onboard onto Cadence, they're actually getting less messages in their inbox from these patients, because these messages are now going to this virtual care team that's triaging them. They're getting less phone calls on nights and weekends, from their chronic condition patients, because those are getting again, triaged by this virtual care team. That's just creating more time for the clinicians to practice with their patients, in person more successfully. So, it's been great to see that we're able to make the provider's lives better through this partnership.
AL: The other thing I'd add, Chris, is when you hear that feedback, when you see the results, you do get a sense of angst. Why can't we go faster? Why can't we enroll more patients?
As I think about the way we started a year ago, in our relationship and really teeing this up for some providers we think maybe early adopters, I start to think in my mind, we're driving better quality outcomes, with huge patient and physician satisfaction.
How do we accelerate the way we get this in our physician's hands, the way we start to enroll more patients and start to be, I wouldn't say bold, but a bit more strong in the way we have conversations, where this is absolutely the right thing? We should figure out why we shouldn't do this as opposed to, why should we do this and start to opt in a little bit differently.
1-year clinical impact of RPM program
CA: Let's use that to talk about some of the clinical results that we're seeing. For the first time today, we released some clinical data showing the results of how Cadence is positively impacting both patients and providers. Maybe tell me about some of the top line data that resonated most with you. I'm obviously happy to share my perspective here.
AL: As we think about the clinical data points that this patient population that you'd want to move the needle on, it covered the entire spectrum.
I go to the far end as to patient satisfaction. That's the true testament to me, as to the engagement and how we think in the future this will happen. Just crazy high numbers, around 98% saying they have the highest quality medical care and 97% felt more connected. All of these things that we as caregivers and providers, in building healthcare organizations, it's just so critical.
CA: Well, and on that last point, sometimes when we're introducing these kinds of programs to physicians, they'll be concerned as to, am I going to lose the relationship that I've built with my patient over the last decade? What we're seeing in the data is that 97% of patients are now saying that they're more happy with their existing provider and they feel more connected to their provider. So, this is really strengthening the patient relationship, not challenging it in any way, which is, I think, a really important nuance that's coming through in the data.
AL: So then I'll go to the other side of that. On the employee side, we talked a lot about employee satisfaction versus employee engagement. You really want high employee engagement. Satisfaction's okay, but we want our employees to be engaged.
We just talked about some of the satisfaction results, but if I think about the 96% of patients that are engaging more than 16 days per month, that's more than half of a month that patients are engaged with this solution. And as we think about the ability to engage with your physician that many times, it's impossible.
CA: Yeah. No physician wants that.
AL: Absolutely not. You wouldn't want to. But this dynamic of a relationship, driving down, 30% decrease in no-show for clinics, that's huge. People want to be engaged in this process. They want to start to share the information.
And then when you go to really what's happening, a 5X increase in patients achieving the guidelines that are so critical, a 2X increase in patients with well-controlled blood pressure.
Those are the elements that we, our physicians, care about. It's higher quality. When that happens, you get patient engagement because I feel better. I mean, some of the comments we hear from patients, some of the testimonials are just unbelievable. It's life changing.
And then to do that in a way that is a very satisfying engagement, it's hard to figure out any data point that's not exciting. When all of those work together, you truly have a solution, I think that gives you comfort that we're doing things the right way. We're driving clinical outcomes in a way that consumers love to engage.
Interlude: At Cadence, we recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of enrolling our our first patient. Nicki, one of our care delivery team members, had a chance to talk with them about that experience over the last year.
First-hand patient experience with remote care program
Nicki: I want to say congratulations on your one-year anniversary! Because you are our first patient and a lovely patient at that.
How about that. Wow.
Thanks to Frye and LifePoint, you have access to Cadence in your community and at home. And I just was wondering, what does it mean to you to have access to this level of care in your local community and at home?
I have really really found that, it has been very helpful. It has really meant a lot to my family. My children worry about their dad because of my age and because of my injuries and heart attack and what have you.
But I’m doing very well and they feel very comfortable knowing I can pick up the phone and call Cadence help anytime 24/7 and that I check in with them every day on my weight and my blood pressure. They are very comforted by that and I tell people that — that I have a wonderful feeling knowing I don’t have to worry about myself. And it helps me as well and my children over the course of the day to know how I’m doing. I am just delighted that I was able to get into this program. At my age, it meant a lot. I really do appreciate the attention you all have given me.
Have you noticed any improvements in your health since joining the program?
Oh my goodness gracious, yes. There’s no question about that. I am just about 100% better than I was when I started. It’s gone hand-in-hand in my recovery with my medicine, my physical activity, and everything. It complements it. I can keep track of what’s going on, every day.
Have you felt cared for by your Cadence clinicians?
Yes, I have felt care for — no questions about that. I sure have.
Onboarding new physicians to remote care platform
CA: So to any LifePoint physician listening, who may be hearing about Cadence for the first time, what do you want to say about how Cadence can help them, and how should they raise their hand to get involved?
AL: I think about it in a couple ways, Chris. First is, I think every provider has a concept of the perfect patient that would be for this solution.
I would challenge those providers and those physicians, to really think and raise their hand to have a conversation as to help me understand. This is the patient panel I think this is applicable for. But as we've discussed and engaged with other physicians across the country, there are a lot of patients that we don't naturally think about, that actually drive to a better quality outcome, a better lifestyle, a better day-to-day life, by engaging them and enrolling them in the solution with the product.
So going down that path, I think, really thinking about opening the aperture in our mindset as to, here's my panel. Help me understand how this can help them.
Secondarily to that, you can email me and email you, no doubt about it, but ultimately the local leadership teams, the practice leaders, the CEOs are engaged meaningfully, in making sure that we are deploying this technology.
We have some rollouts scheduled, but I do think those that hear this, that see the results, want to raise their hand, I would ask to engage with your local practice market director, as well as CEOs, to get it up, to stay with the team and make sure that we can get the solution out there more quickly.
Innovation lessons from health system partnership
CA: As you think about some of the lessons learned from this last year of this partnership and your broader innovation efforts, what advice do you have to other hospital system leaders, who are going to be looking at the results LifePoint is having and hoping that they can accomplish the same for their patients?
AL: I think a couple pieces.This has been core and critical to every single person in the organization, from David Dill, all the way through all of our teams focusing on the operational side of the business.
This is not a group that sits out to the side and thinks about some unique, what's the next solution out there. It's been core to our division presidents, our CEOs, our clinical team, with Michelle Watson and Dr. Rehm and so many more people, Al Smith, our CIO.
But ultimately, no one I just named is delivering care on a daily basis. So, I think about the physicians who have raised their hand and adopted and leaned in on this.
I think about the nurses at the bedside, who have leaned in on our solutions to say, yes, I'm busy. I have a lot going on, but I want to engage in this work. It's really become part of the fabric of the organization and it's important. I mentioned earlier that every one of these solutions, ideas, technologies, anything that we're bringing to do something differently, has to land at the bedside.
I think what we're starting to really focus on and drive more of, is that these ideas should also start at the bedside. They should start in the therapy room. They should start in the behavioral health hospitals.
Building an organization that people can raise their hand and say, I have an idea, let's find a solution. And when that solution can scale across the country, we can make a huge impact on a lot of communities.
CA: What's next for the partnership? If you look forward over the coming year, what are you hoping we can accomplish?
AL: Yeah. I think, as I think about our relationships and these types of opportunities, it's down two paths.
One is, we've seen what works. How do we do more of that, faster and really encompass and knock it out of the park on our 100,000 mark we've put out there very early on, but quickly run past that number? I think it's really out-executing ourselves on doing the exact work we know how to do, faster.
The second piece is, how do we learn from the tenets of what's really been impactful, the core elements of what has moved the needle? Are there additional disease states? Are there additional settings? Are there other types of elements and challenges we have from a quality perspective or from an access perspective?
It may be an augmentation to the way that we've built this solution together. But, challenging our thoughts as to, with these types of data points that we talked about earlier, where else could we build and scale, which is at the core of this partnership?
CA: Well, Aaron, I really appreciate it. Thank you. At Cadence, we're super proud of the impact that we're able to have, to support LifePoint having on your patients. It's been a really exciting year together, and we can't wait to see what we accomplish in the future.
AL: Completely agree. I appreciate the partnership very much and look forward to the future.
Conclusion: Thanks again to Aaron for sitting down with Chris this week. To make sure you get updates on our future conversations, please subscribe to Cadence Conversations wherever you listen to your podcasts. And for more information about Cadence and for how to get involved, visit Cadence.care. At Cadence, we believe that everyone deserves to receive the best care possible, and we won't stop working until that vision becomes reality.