Intermountain launches new IT startup aimed at value-based care

Intermountain HealthcarelaunchedCastell, a new company aimed at boosting value-based care capabilities among providers and payers.

“Intermountain Healthcare’s mission is to help people live the healthiest lives possible. This commitment is the same no matter where, when, or with whom people get care,” said Marc Harrison, MD, Intermountain president and CEO. “Castell is a critical component of Intermountain’s broad vision for healthier communities. It creates a new path for providers to access the support they need to provide high quality, affordable care to their patients across the nation.”

Rajesh Shrestha has been named as the president and CEO of Castell. In addition to leading Castell, Shrestha serves as vice president and chief operating officer of Community Based Care for Intermountain Healthcare. He has more than two decades of experience accelerating other health companies move from fee-for-service to value-based care.

“Healthcare’s ongoing shift from volume to value-based systems of care enables providers, health systems, and payers to take a more holistic approach to managing the health of their patients, but also creates more financial risk or rewards,” said Shrestha. “The health platform capabilities, tools, and resources that Castell provides will strengthen the ability of the health ecosystem to thrive in a value-based care environment.”

Castell’s foundation is built on lessons learned, adapted based on the successes and obstacles encountered at Intermountain, within local provider networks, and other population health-focused programs.

It will offer a comprehensive platform of tools and services to support transformation and improvement:

  • A proven value-based clinical care model called “Reimagined Primary Care”
  • A technology and analytics platform to guide care
  • Streamlined affiliated network management
  • Digital tools to address virtual care, patient experience, and social determinants of health
  • Access to cutting-edge initiatives and innovation coming out of Intermountain Healthcare
  • Opportunity to utilize care pathways and clinical best practices developed by Intermountain Healthcare

In a release, Intermountain says it has experienced many successes with its value-based care management programs. For example, in 2018, Intermountain introduced its “Reimagined Primary Care” model for physicians and patients, which is now being extended to more providers through Castell.

This focus on preventive care enabled physicians to spend more time with high-risk patients to get upstream of potential health issues. After just one year, the program produced strong results, including:

  • 60% reduction in Medicare Advantage admissions
  • 25% fewer commercial insurance admissions
  • 20% decreased per-member per-month costs
  • Improved patient ratings
  • Improved physician satisfaction

“Proven methods for simplifying value-based care are needed across the healthcare industry,” said Shrestha. “Backed by Intermountain’s day-to-day frontline experience with a focus on population health management, Castell will deliver impactful solutions that help other organizations improve outcomes and keep costs more affordable.”

NIH working to develop universal flu vaccine

Researchers using cutting-edge technology could be close to developing a universal flu vaccine, according to PBS News Hour. Researchers at the Vaccine Research Center, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Bethesda, MD), have used virtual reality to magnify influenza to over 200 million times its actual size, with the goal of targeting the part of the virus that stays the same from strain to strain. The potential universal vaccine could protect against all known and unknown strains. The NIH began testing its most recent universal flu vaccine on humans in May 2019. Researchers are waiting to see whether patients’ immune systems will respond with a strong defense.

Premier Inc, 10 hospitals launch initiative to improve maternal and infant health

Premier Inc is working with 10 leading hospitals on a perinatal collaborative designed to reach zero preventable maternal and neonatal harm and deaths. Over the next two years, hospitals in Premier’s Perinatal Collaborative will design, test and adopt evidenced-based improvement strategies that can be replicated, standardized and scaled nationally. The collaborative, which launched in June, is part of Premier’s Bundle of Joy Campaign to transform the quality, safety and cost of maternal and infant health.

“Our work with providers to improve care for women and infants remains a key area of focus as we aim to create a healthier delivery system,” said Susan DeVore, Premier CEO. “We know firsthand what can be accomplished by acting as a convener to facilitate collaboration, data sharing and the development of scalable solutions. Our goal is to measurably close the gap between the evidence and what is practiced by testing and adopting new delivery models that elevate the quality, safety and cost of perinatal care.”

Participants will focus on reducing mortality and disparities in care, preventing adverse events, ensuring patients are treated in the correct and most appropriate setting, increasing the delivery of evidence-based care, enhancing patient and family engagement, and improving the overall health of women and newborns.

Premier will support collaborative participants using its nationally recognized performance improvement methodology, which leverages robust data and peer-to-peer benchmarks, as well as enables the sharing and scaling of successful improvement strategies and solutions. The following participating hospitals are also owners of the American Excess Insurance Exchange (AEIX) reciprocal risk retention group, a captive professional liability insurance company that is managed by Premier.