Aetna aims to boost patient outcomes by asking 'why not'
Healthcare insurer Aetna has created Aetna Innovation Labs to focus on ways to improve patient outcomes by leveraging data and best practices.
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Two of the first projects aim to speed the identification and use of the best clinical practices in cancer care and achieve optimal health for those at risk for metabolic syndrome.
The Aetna Innovation Labs, with a dedicated team will make it possible for Aetna to test specific initiatives such as those related to disease prediction and intervention, rapidly determine success rates and impact across populations of members and quickly expand programs that show promise, Aetna officials said when they announced the initiative on Aug. 27.
[See also: Aetna, Banner add power to ACO ]
"The marketplace is rapidly changing,” said Aetna Chairman, CEO and President Mark T. Bertolini. “Forces such as healthcare reform, emerging technologies and economic conditions are driving our need to constantly develop innovative and measurable programs to improve healthcare quality and reduce costs for our customers and members.”
Bertolini called the labs, “the innovation engine that is helping us stay one step ahead of the changing marketplace.
The team is dedicated to developing and leveraging solutions that are two to three years ahead of the market as well as identifying new ideas and bringing them to life, he said.
Michael Palmer, who joined Aetna last September, will head the project. Palmer came to Aetna after a 25-year career of consulting in IT and business strategy, assessment and execution, large-scale transformation initiatives and organizational design.
He joined Aetna from Accenture, where he was most recently Global Managing Partner of Accenture's Medical Technology business. In this role, he also led two of Accenture's large client relationships focused on improving their businesses and growing profitably.
"The Aetna Innovation Labs is a unique environment within Aetna where we are looking at healthcare in a totally new way," said Palmer. "Instead of asking 'why,' we're asking 'why not.' We're partnering with innovators, applying emerging technologies that are widely used in the consumer marketplace, and measuring the outcomes. The focus is on improving the lives of the people we serve, while providing a better value for each dollar that is spent on health care."
More on cancer care and heart disease projects on next page