One of the most enjoyable interviews of the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco this week was that of Michael Long, Chairman and CEO of Lumeris. He was interviewed by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of iHealthBeat. Michael is also the CEO of Essence Group Holding Company, and many will also recognize his name as the former CEO of Healtheon Corporation (now WebMD).
Mr. Long is not a new kid on the block. He has extensive experience and expertise both in business management in general and in the health space in particular. He started Lumeris to address several on-going challenges in healthcare: to lower costs; improve quality; improve patient experiences within the health ecosystem; and also to improve the physician experience as well. They initially targeted 40,000 seniors to prove their model. So what do they do exactly?
Lumeris just launched last year and describes themselves as “a provider of information technology, guidance, and operational services necessary for hospitals and health plans to transform their organizations into high-performing accountable delivery systems,” as quoted from their website. “Our revolutionary technology platform for accountable care integrates data from disparate systems across the continuum of care, provides complete visibility into the clinical and financial performance of the enterprise, and delivers applications and information to key stakeholders at the point of thought. This improves coordination and enables timely value-based health care decisions that lead to optimal health and cost outcomes. The depth and breadth of the company’s solutions—combined with their extensive real-world experience in accountable care—make Lumeris the ideal partner for any health care organization seeking the significant benefits of a better connected, aligned, and informed accountable delivery system.”
To put their mission in plain English, I like this explanation as to their overall purpose of what they’re setting out to achieve . . .
“In the current system, it seemed that for someone to win, someone else always had to lose,” the company explains. “For the health care system to thrive, the classic adversarial relationship among payers and providers had to end. After much deliberation, these executives distilled their solution to a single word: share. They believed we needed to relearn this childhood lesson and apply it to our broken health care system. This called for an innovative approach, with economics and data shared freely across the continuum of care. It meant incentives—not punishments—offered to encourage optimal behaviors, then supported with the right information and tools.”
Michael Long shared that the goal of Lumeris was to “flood the market with solutions, not products, that force the big hospitals and payers to work together and be more responsible.” He explained that when starting a company there are usually two business approaches. He referred to them as the Missionary and the Mercenary approach. He said the Mercenary is interested in making a lot of money, and the Missionary is interested in solving a problem and then perhaps the money follows.
Lumeris’s goal was to be the Missionary.
Michael expressed interest in collaborating with other IT and Healthcare companies to work together for a solution that increases patient’s health by increasing the necessary communication between patient and physician, as well as between patient and payer. As I see it, this also includes increasing engagement between physician and payer as well.