Arnold Milstein: National Affordability Summit – How Primary Care Physicians Can Lead the Charge For All Stakeholders


To create a cost-effective, high-performing healthcare system, we need to focus on primary care first, says Arnie Milstein, MD, MPH, director of Clinical Excellence Research Center at Stanford University.

During September’s National Affordability Summit, Dr. Milstei presented his findings around reengineering care to help providers make choices that positively affect the bottom line. He noted that if we pay attention to how care is designed, work with payers to set up value-based arrangements, and help providers recognize how to deliver amazing care with less, we’ll be on the right path to affordability.

“We need coaches,” says Dr. Milstein, when discussing how primary care providers will begin doing this type of work. “Start with primary care, and then work with specialists, on Total Cost of Care best practices.” Above all, working together, sharing lessons, and borrowing tactics are highlighted as the most important aspects in addressing cost of care in the United States.

Rather than always thinking that our way is best, it takes the “humility to borrow,” says Dr. Milstein. “Respect what’s worked for others on how to deliver care with less, and borrow what will work best for you.”

Beyond providers, Dr. Milstein recognized the need for pharma and payers to step forward and become leaders in value-based pricing arrangements, so that doctor’s can do their jobs in an effective manner. Getting everyone on the same page will help us work toward a sustainable system that produces better patient outcomes in the end.


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