WellPoint CEO: Healthcare Revolution Under Way

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , March 28, 2014

Joe Swedish says a revolution in healthcare is heating up and it will be dependent on a rapidly evolving tech landscape through big data, social networks, and personal connectivity.

"Revolutions happen because the status quo is unacceptable," says Joe Swedish, CEO of WellPoint Inc. one of the nation's largest health insurers, with 36 million health plan members. With healthcare on pace to soon consume one fifth of the nation's GDP, "today's healthcare environment is unacceptable."

Maybe so, but let's be honest, the status quo has been unacceptable for years. Over the past 10 years, healthcare costs borne directly by the patient have doubled while incomes have grown only 4%. If that's not fertile ground for a revolution, I don't know what is.

One of the key problems, however, is that until recently, there have been few weapons with which to stage such a revolution.

Swedish was the keynote speaker for the Malcolm T. McEachern Memorial Lecture and Luncheon at the 2014 Congress on Healthcare Leadership presented by the American College of Healthcare Executives in Chicago. What's different now, he says, is that the convergence of data and the technological gizmos that allow real-time intervention based on that data are now nearly ready for widespread adoption.

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