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Aspen Institute’s Health Innovation Project Helps Scale and Spread Value and Quality in Health Care

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New report identifies five game-changing ideas to accelerate innovation

Douglas Farrar
The Aspen Institute
202.669.2333 |

Washington, DC, June 21, 2017 – Can transformative innovations produce a health care delivery system designed to work better for all? A new report, “Accelerating Innovation in Health Care: Five Game-Changing Ideas to Clear the Way,” says they can. The report, produced by the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovation Project, draws together the collective insights of high-level, nonpartisan thought leaders committed to fostering bold changes in the way health care is organized and delivered.

The Health Innovation Project is housed at the Health, Medicine and Society Program of the Aspen Institute. Blue Shield of California Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund provided funding for this initiative.

Dozens of stakeholders participated in off-the-record interviews and convenings designed to elicit fresh thinking and inform the report. Granted anonymity to encourage disruptive thinking, they came from across the health care field and included past and present government officials; executives of Fortune 500 companies, provider organizations, and insurance companies; and leading innovators, researchers and academics. Their conclusion: the most pressing task at hand is to create fertile ground in which the seeds of innovation can grow, especially by stimulating market demand for change.

The report explores five “Big Ideas” to do that. These game changers create the conditions in which transformative new models for delivering health care can thrive and help to clear a pathway for spreading and scaling reforms:

  1. End fee-for-service reimbursement by 2025. Basing payments on patient and community outcomes instead would create incentives for new innovations to keep patients healthy and remove waste from the health care system.
  2. Cut out the middle man: direct-to-consumer insurance products. A tighter alignment between what patients value about care and the financial goals of their providers would push providers to respond to consumer needs or risk losing market share.
  3. Power to the people: sharing health care savings with consumers and communities. Along with rewarding providers for good outcomes, new payment models should be structured to also reward the patients and communities who achieve them.
  4. Wired for success: empowering consumers with their own data. Greater access to aggregated data, supported by artificial intelligence and analytics, would democratize solution-seeking for health problems.
  5. Sophisticated spending: return on investment (ROI) calculator. A common ROI calculator that provides information about short-term savings, long-term outcomes, and cross-sector benefits and costs would allow innovations to be adopted and refined more quickly.

These delivery system reforms hold the promise of improving health outcomes, lowering overall health care spending, and optimizing the efficiency and value of health care. Beneficial in their own right, the real power lies in the opportunity they foster to unleash innovation.

Read “Accelerating Innovation in Health Care: Five Game-Changing Ideas to Clear the Way.”

About the Health, Medicine and Society Program at the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine and Society Program is a venue for academic, government, and industry leaders to explore critical issues in health care and health policy and how they may affect individual health and that of families, communities, nations, and the world. By convening bipartisan, multi-disciplinary forums, the program facilitates the exchange of knowledge and insights among decision-makers and helps to forge networks and other collaborations with the ultimate goal of improving human health.

Through public policy programs and strategic dialogue, including roundtables, policy briefings, conferences, and Internet discussion forums, the program seeks to help chart the way forward on issues relating to health and medical science by bringing together the foremost experts in many fields. The program’s work routinely incorporates the views of leading scientists, economists, physicians, policymakers, historians, patients, and other committed voices in health care and health policy.

For more information, please visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Douglas Farrar
The Aspen Institute
202.669.2333 |


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