“It’s a dysfunctional system that I believe is primed for change. A new incentive paradigm is emerging. The era of preventive medicine and home health monitoring is on the rise. An interesting concept has come to light recently as telemedicine continues to improve and evolve.”
The above statement comes from Richard Kimball Jr., who has an impressive list of credentials, making him one of today’s fast-rising personalities in the health care industry.
Kimball used to work as an expert in global healthcare investment banking and healthcare, consumer and retail equity capital markets. He also held a post at Morgan Stanley for 17 years where he ran Healthcare Equity Capital Markets and Healthcare Services Investment Banking. In addition, he was co-founder and Managing Partner of Millennium Technology Partners, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage Internet infrastructure.
Kimball was known for his relentless campaign of patient-oriented care and population health. He was responsible for supporting efforts to use technology in health care, especially through telemedicine.
Based on his keen observation of the current healthcare system, Kimball believes that there is so much to overhaul. He especially notes that under the current fee-for-service system, doctors and hospitals get compensated for each visit and each procedure, which leads to increasing costs. He also laments how the government as well as insurance companies are increasingly cutting the reimbursement per visit and per procedure.
Kimball is also bold enough to objectively assess the impact of the current healthcare system to the behavior of the physicians and health workers in general. For example, he calls out the doctors in the US who he describes as “very economically-driven,” explaining that these physicians and their medical institutions have been keen on increasing the number of visits by their patients and procedures to boost their income.
Patient-oriented Care: The Chief Strategy
Kimball also served as the Chief Strategy and Growth Officer at Accretive Health, a healthcare technology company, where he is responsible for strategy, business development, sales, marketing, product management and population health. In this role, he led the development of a transformation strategy to evolve the company’s innovative revenue cycle management business by facilitating deeper patient engagement by hospitals and building the foundation for population health programs.
He also believes in empowering the patients in taking care of their own health. Unfortunately, the current system does very little to encourage them to do so. These days, he says, the United States spends USD3tn a year on healthcare services. Around 80 per cent of that, or USD2.4tn, goes towards the treatment of people with chronic illnesses. He considers this ironic, since this means that the disease has been identified, for which there is known and available medication. And yet, the disease thrives because of something within our control: non-compliance on taking the medicines.
To address this, Kimball is advocating a reimbursement paradigm he formulated, which is supposed to keeps their chronic diseases in check, and thereby reduces hospitalizations by up to 30%.
Kimball further points to the need to reconfigure our healthcare system, emphasizing on building the capacities of outpatient clinics, as well as households in providing care.