A care model primed for agility, stability and equitable health

William Shrank, M.D., MSHS

Chief Medical Officer


Dr. Shrank is dedicated to putting integrated care delivery strategy into action. His work emphasizes consumer- friendly, evidence- based, technology- enabled approaches to personalized health improvement. A former practicing physician and Harvard Medical School assistant professor, his research has focused on the use and effectiveness of chronic- care medications.

COVID-19, by many accounts, served as a wake-up call for how we approach care delivery and our healthcare system as a whole. We’ve had to be nimble and flexible, to leverage technology in new ways and to further orient to the very personal needs of our members and patients.

As we continue to navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic, we are thinking to the future and trying to best understand what we can learn from the lessons of the last 18 months. One thing is clear—the pandemic reaffirmed the imperative for value-based care.

The pandemic required us to take a different tact in how we interact with members and be far more proactive. We called members at the outset and talked to them about their chronic conditions. Many told us they hadn’t left the house and didn’t have ways to get food, or that they were depressed because they hadn’t seen their children.

Ultimately, we have to address the basics—the context in which people live. It’s hard for one to manage his or her diabetes or congestive heart failure without a safe, stable home environment.

Moreover, the pandemic didn’t create disparities. It exposed them. And we all have a role to play in addressing those problems.

Value-based care has offered the business context for payers and healthcare providers to align incentives and to consistently focus on what is most important for patients throughout the pandemic. Value-based providers had invested in infrastructure before COVID-19 that allowed them to be more flexible, enabling those practices to leverage technology, drive more care to the home and to be more sensitive to the emerging needs of the people they serve.

Data reflected in this annual report is influenced greatly by the pandemic, but what you’ll see is that value-based physicians were agile and maintained critical connections with patients while maintaining a consistent cash flow.

Going forward, we need to continue to build on the fabric of team-based care, sealing off clinical silos. Team-based interdisciplinary care, quarterbacked by primary care physicians, will be a differentiator in that effort. Continuing to work with physicians will help dig deeper to uncover truths about what a person needs, and then deliver it to them.

Every person deserves to live their best life, and we, along with physicians and healthcare professionals, want to facilitate that. Because we’re a global community, an individual’s lack of well-being should be everybody’s concern.