Intel’s Connected Care: The Model to Improving Patient Experience and Lowering Healthcare Costs

By Lisa Malloy, Head of U.S. Government Affairs and Mario Romao, Director of Health and Data Policy at Intel

Providing access to high quality healthcare while keeping costs under control is a challenge for many large businesses. Intel, which employs about 50,000 people in the US, has taken major steps to ensure that employees and their families receive high-quality, well-coordinated care at a much lower cost than previously. It has successfully held healthcare providers accountable with a meaningful pay-for-performance structure which evaluates them according to a “triple aim”: value, quality and experience.

The recently published Connected Care whitepaper explains how Intel has successfully implemented the triple aim in the states where it has its largest employee bases — New Mexico, Oregon, Arizona and California. Data from Oregon shows that employees and their families are experiencing demonstrably better health outcomes with a 94% employee retention rate in the program. Intel’s Connected Care is also proving more cost efficient than traditional plans, translating to average savings of $1.8M per month in Oregon alone.

Employer driven Triple Aim approach founded on Interoperability

Intel has shown that it is possible to address some of the major challenges facing policymakers when it comes to healthcare. Clinicians in the Connected Care program were given access to accurate and complete information about a patient’s medical history, and then held accountable for the quality of the care they delivered. This model can be replicated in the broader healthcare system with straightforward legislative and regulatory changes.

Despite the unequivocal findings that these connected care plans work better for all healthcare stakeholders, efforts to scale value-based models like Intel’s to reach broader populations encounter obstacles due to outdated federal rules that govern healthcare. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) rules do not recognize savings that accrue over time from federal investments in preventive health measures. This means that CBO would not account for the monthly $1.8 million in savings that Intel’s value-based model creates.

Fortunately, Members of Congress are poised to introduce the Preventive Health Savings Act. This legislation would address the problem by requiring CBO to account for savings due to preventive health services that may not be fully realized until beyond the 10-year default budget window. The Preventive Health Savings Act would help ensure Americans across the nation can benefit from innovative care models, like Intel’s, that put the patient first.

While policymakers must rectify budgetary issues to ensure the expansion of the Connected Care model, significant progress has been made to reduce barriers to data exchange. Intel applauds Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, for proposing rules that will propel us toward interoperable medical records. A critical component of Intel’s success in launching these accountable care models has been the consistent mandate for interoperable health information exchange. The Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rule outlines opportunities to make patient data more useful and transferable through open, secure, standardized, and machine-readable formats while reducing restrictive burdens on healthcare providers. These proposed rules requiring healthcare providers and insurers to implement open data-sharing technology, were passed as a part of 21st Century Cures Act, which Intel strongly advocated for.

We thank Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar for all of his efforts to move us towards a value-based healthcare system. Without effective open data sharing, providers cannot keep patients healthy. Without data to track patient progress or understand quality, insurance companies cannot tie payment to outcomes. We will to continue to work with the Administration, Congress and all healthcare stakeholders to improve care coordination, interoperability and the sharing of data.

Whitepaper authors Heather Wilson and Prashant Shah contributed to this blog post.