Dr. Walker, could you please tell us more about the mission/background of Orlando Health Network? How patients, hospitals, physicians and other stakeholders benefit from this network?
Dr. Erik Walker: The mission of Orlando Health Network is to promote an environment of physician partnership and provider collaboration to collectively achieve the best outcomes for our patients, their families, and our payer and employer partners. What we do as a network is driven by our goal to achieve the quadruple aim of healthcare, which includes improving quality outcomes, reducing healthcare costs, enhancing the patient experience, and improving physician and provider support. The network was initially formed in 2013 and has since grown to become the largest and highest performing network in our region, caring for more than 300,000 covered lives. OHN has saved our members nearly $160 million in healthcare expenses since inception and has consistently received financial incentives through our arrangements with Florida Blue, Cigna, Aetna, United Healthcare, Medicare, and The Walt Disney Company. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure our patients have access to the right care, at the right time, in the setting.
Tell us the purpose of its annual Clinically Integrated Network Value Report and what are some highlights of the 2022 report.
Dr. Erik Walker: Our annual Clinically Integrated Network Value Report is a way for us to share our performance outcomes with our payor and employer partners, community stakeholders, and patients. This report also provides a window into the many operational and care management programs and initiatives our teams are working on to provide resources for our patients. This year we are excited to highlight improvements made to our care coordination model that leverage technology to automate patient screening and stratification, which make patient engagement more productive. Our teams have also been hard at work deploying new bundled payment program initiatives focused on coordinating patient care journeys and ensuring smooth transitions of care. We are also thrilled to announce the continuation of our direct-to-employer agreement with The Walt Disney Company to provide high quality and cost-effective care to their Cast Members and families.
What can we expect from Orlando Health in the next three, five, ten, 20 years? Is it possible to grow the network from Orlando Health to Florida Health or even bigger?
Dr. Erik Walker: With the move towards value-based care in the healthcare industry, I think Orlando Health Network is ripe with opportunity for growth and innovation. Payors are continuing to develop new models and regulations that push providers into a value-based care environment. These models also offer benefits to our patients by encouraging health systems and providers to deliver coordinated high quality care that is also cost-effective. Healthcare systems can be complex for patients to navigate, and value-based models encourage coordination between sites of care and smooth transitions to provide better patient experience and healing. As the healthcare industry shifts towards a value-based model of care, I think Orlando Health Network’s experience caring for patients and developing initiatives to guide coordinated care will allow our team to achieve even greater cost savings and improved quality of care for our patients and payor/employer partners. Our expansion into the Tampa/St. Petersburg market and, more recently, in Puerto Rico will allow us to further our mission to care for and about our populations on a broader scale.
COVID-19 had posed huge challenges to everyone and the whole healthcare system, what needs to be planned and how to prepare for the next pandemic?
Dr. Erik Walker: I think as a system we have learned a lot about not only how to cope with an unexpected challenge like COVID-19, but also our own capability to adapt and adjust our operations quickly to accommodate care needs for our patients. Orlando Health has developed numerous internal plans and policies to guide care processes and management, we have found ways to provide information to the public, our providers, and our team members in effective ways through websites and newsletters, and one of the most pivotal items to come from this change is our ability to leverage technology to provide widespread telemedicine options to our patients. Many of the care options that Orlando Health implemented during the pandemic are still available today, as we believe in providing the best care for our patients, which includes offering the resources that are the most convenient for them. In the event of another major worldwide disruption, such as a pandemic, we will lean on the learnings we gained during COVID-19 and, importantly, the resilience our health system and provider network demonstrated during that time. COVID-19 taught us to be adaptive and more risk-ready in the event of the unexpected. We firmly believe our plans to provide care outside the walls of our buildings through innovative, less traditional methods, such as hospital care at home, house calls programs, and telemedicine, among others, will enable Orlando Health to provide greater access to high quality care for our population in the most dire of circumstances.
Dr. Walker, please tell us about yourself, your previous experiences and your journey with Orlando Health. As the chairman, what are some of the priorities you have set for the organization moving forward?
Dr. Erik Walker: I joined Orlando Health Physician Associates in 1990 and I currently serve as the chief of family medicine and the chairman for both the Orlando Health Network Board of Directors and the Orlando Health Collaborative Care Board of Directors. I am board certified in family medicine and specialize in comprehensive care for patients of all ages, providing preventive care as well as management of complex and chronic conditions. I earned my medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville and completed both a family medicine internship and residency at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville. I am certified in the Diabetes Recognition Program and the Heart/Stoke Recognition Program by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and am a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
As the chairman of Orlando Health Network, I have been privileged to watch the growth of our network over time, and I am exceptionally proud of the efforts we have made to date. That said, looking forward, I am very excited about the future of the network and some of the key items we have on the agenda for the years ahead. Some specific priorities I have set for the network moving forward are related to access to care, patient engagement, and customized care coordination. With regard to access to care, I am excited about our system’s approach to a “digital front door” strategy, recognizing that more patients today than ever are seeking to connect with their care experiences through their computers and phones, our strategic positioning in this space will enhance access, quality of care, and patient experience. From the patient engagement standpoint, I believe several things we have in flight with employers, insurers, and third party convener organizations will help to evolve the legacy plan designs and member benefits approach to receiving care in such a way that patients will become better, more empowered “shoppers of care”, thereby creating a more competitive marketplace for care delivery to improve outcomes and reduce costs. Finally, as we continue to advance our care management models and understand what statistically significant results we are capable of producing, we will be better able to tailor our care plans such that they are customized to our patients, medically and socially speaking, while still aligning with evidence-based standards. Collectively, these three strategic imperatives for us speak directly to our aims of improving access, cost, and quality in healthcare, which are the very tenets our network was founded on.