Dr. Eric Fishman, CEO EHRtv interviews Todd Cozzens, CEO of Accountable Care Solutions of Optum.
Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman with EHRtv and today we have the pleasure of speaking with Todd Cozzens, CEO of Accountable Care Solutions at Optum. And Todd, thank you for taking the time today.
Todd Cozzens: Good to see you Eric.
Dr. Eric Fishman: The last time we met, we were speaking you were the founder and CEO of Picis. And obviously, a lot has happened in your life since then. So congratulations in joining Optum and tell us… Let’s talk about Optum as a company itself.
Todd Cozzens: Well Optum is a very, very exciting place to be right now as these new models of care are coming together. Optum is kind of purpose built for where healthcare is going, with the idea that providers are having to take on more risk covering patient lives over the longitude of the patient experience from pre-hospital, in-patient, post-acute. And so our technology capabilities are perfectly suited because you need to manage now not just a census of sick patients that are going in to visit the doctors but a whole population…
Dr. Eric Fishman: The continuum…
Todd Cozzens: Understanding what’s happening with that population. And our tools that come in from our years and years of experience of managing populations are absolutely germane to that problem right now. And as you can see from the booth traffic, we’re getting quite a lot of following.
Dr. Eric Fishman: There’s 11 hundred booths at hand. I understand that yours is the second largest. It’s been very crowded, obviously. It shows a substantial amount of interest in Optum and the various services and products that you provide. And if you could go over some of them, that would be great.
Todd Cozzens: Yeah. I mean, as I said, Optum is purposely built of bringing these people capabilities from managing populations, population health, consumer engagement, and then a great number of capabilities on the provider side that people don’t know a lot about. But we’ve got capabilities around medical necessity, around computer system coding; all the germane issues today in the healthcare IT world around ICD-10, around RAC Audit Medical Necessity. Those are really our sweet spots and that’s where we’re getting the most tragic.
Dr. Eric Fishman: I’ve been in this industry for quite some time and I myself get confused about some of the brands that are under Optum. And maybe you can tell us about the structure of the company.
Todd Cozzens: Yeah. So Optum is really, you know, it’s bringing together technology and services, we say good for the system. Meaning, a broader…
Dr. Eric Fishman: I saw that tagline.
Todd Cozzens: A broader ray of capabilities that are going to enable the healthcare system of the future. And as you know it’s rapidly changing. The lines between payers and providers are getting blurred. What physicians and nurses are being asked to do is a lot different than what they were being asked to do a long time ago. To the good side they’re being asked to do what you were originally were trained for…
Dr. Eric Fishman: Trained for…
Todd Cozzens: Which is actually to take care of patients along the continuum of care rather than doing choppy little transactions along the way; so all of our capabilities are around that. So we have everything from provider based solutions. There are a great deal of solutions on the provider side, as I said, around revenue cycle management, around medical necessity and compliance, all the new regulations coming out. It’s got this natural language processing capability that makes it much easier. With all those new codes, it’s going to be very difficult to pinpoint the section…
Dr. Eric Fishman: The computer assisted coding is required.
Todd Cozzens: Yeah. The number of codes goes up by tenfold so being able to pinpoint the right code at the right time for the right patient, quickly and easily is going to be absolutely key. And we’ve got that technology at spades.
Dr. Eric Fishman: I don’t know many people who would be able to prognosticate the future of the accountable care organization industry, if you will. There are a lot of rules and regulations and as evidenced by the ICD-10 delay. It doesn’t always go according to plan. What do you anticipate will be rolling out in the next couple of years in that field?
Todd Cozzens: Well, what’s clear is accountable care organizations is a very focused term around CMS regulated view of how care is supposed to happen in an accountable organization. We look at it much broader. We look at providers who by necessity - cost take out, market share, you know, dealing with their payers… have to really change the way they’re taking care of patients. We call it a whole broad category of providers that are taking on more risks and covering more the longitudinal episode of the patients which means a much more integrative care system: as I said from the pre-hospital, to in-patient, to post-acute. And following the patient right on through the home, making sure they take their meds, making sure they do their scheduling, making sure they don’t end up back in the ER. Because as you know after 24 T, there’s penalty for readmissions, that’s going to be the new RAC. And you know, that’s some of the stuff that we’re really addressing with our analytics, with our care management, with our clinical redesign capability. Those are the core technologies that we’re bringing to bear. Again, these tools all existed in the payer world before. And the key is making them provider friendly, making them fit into the provider workflow, you know, teach them how to fish type applications that providers like to take control of these applications and work with them themselves. So that’s what all of our R&D and all of our focus is really on.
Dr. Eric Fishman: So speaking of that, in a company the size of Optum there’s always news. So tell me some of the news that you’re announcing at HIMSS.
Todd Cozzens: We announced the launch of some new cloud technology that we’re bringing bear, simply trying to making all of our applications cloud compatible, cloud compliant, enabling obviously much quicker deployment of systems, we’re partnering with a bunch of companies there. You’ll see more about that in the future. We’ve announced the launch of our Optum Care Suite product which is really the, as I said, the provider version of our analytics tools, our population analytics, with the provider type workflow and user interface. We’re very excited about that as well.
Dr. Eric Fishman: Todd, anything else you want to tell our viewers?
Todd Cozzens: No it’s just that I think we are at top of the first inning of the biggest change in healthcare that either of us has seen in our lifetime, and very, very excited. This is a great place to be because, you know, all of… as we’re converging, so is the healthcare system.
Dr. Eric Fishman: Todd, thank you very much.
Todd Cozzens: Take care.
Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Eric Fishman with EHRtv. We’ve been speaking with Todd Cozzens, CEO of Accountable Care Solutions for Optum. Thank you.