d.health 2017 Policy Whitepaper

SUCCESSFUL AGING IN 2030: CHARTING A COURSE

by Professors Avi Seidmann PhD & Ray Dorsey MD, The University of Rochester

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The third d.health Summit, held in May 2017 at the New York Academy of Sciences, brought together more than 200 leaders from the health, technology, finance, and policy fields to discuss the factors involved in ensuring successful aging. A pre-Summit Visioning Session saw industry thought leaders come together to develop a roadmap for achieving this goal. Attendees at the full-day Summit discussed topics including the longevity economy, aging in place, new technologies, age bias, senior-specific models of care, holistic care, and public policy.

Older adults face a variety of challenges in living happy, healthy, productive lives, particularly as medical challenges tend to increase with advancing age. Technological and process innovations offer significant benefits for the health and wellbeing of America’s seniors, at a lower cost to both society and the taxpayer, but the creativity driving these innovations needs a favorable regulatory and financial environment in which to flourish.

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d.health Summit Policy Whitepaper

SUCCESSFUL AGING IN 2030:
CHARTING A COURSE

The opportunities in the silver economy are significant for both investors in and beneficiaries of technology and creative change, but it is crucial that public policy foster and reward engagement with the elderly and their wants and needs. Summit panelists and attendees offered the following policy perspectives intended to ensure such support:

LISTEN TO THE NEEDS & PRIORITIES OF THE ELDERLY
Effective policies must address the explicit and implicit needs and concerns of the target population, their caregivers, and their families. Top concerns include autonomy and affordability, but seniors crave aesthetic satisfaction and communitarian involvement as well. Houses that they can stay in and a broad base of community support that includes public facilities, transportation services, and access to care are crucial.

REFORM HEALTHCARE PAYMENTS
We must speed up the shift to value-based payments that reward providers for patient health and wellness, with outcome-based metrics that reflect changing U.S. demographics. Site-neutral payments that provide reimbursement for telemedicine and home healthcare will be critical in facilitating aging in place.

TACKLE THE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH
Because social and behavioral factors play key roles in determining successful aging, Congress and the new Administration should support improvements in such factors through programs that enhance people’s mobility and functioning at home or programs that focus on senior dental care, for example.

FOSTER INTEROPERABILITY
We must place the individual at the center of the healthcare delivery system, so that every person can access his or her own medical data and obtain telehealth everywhere. To ensure that access, HHS, with congressional support, should define standards of interoperability and incentivize their implementation.

RENOVATE THE REGULATORY SYSTEM
Excessive or outdated regulations add complexity and cost while deterring agile development. A thorough review of the existing regulatory framework, on an abbreviated timetable is needed, with the goal of jettisoning outdated requirements, simplifying processes and procedures, reducing cycle times for research and approval of products and treatments, and restoring flexibility.

ENCOURAGE PLANNING AND ENGAGEMENT
To ensure healthy aging, we must empower individuals to be healthier throughout their lives. Regulatory reforms should encourage saving and preparation for the last third of life; put a priority on the individual as a person, not merely a patient; and enable the involvement of informal caregivers.

LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY TO DELIVER EFFICIENT CARE THAT SUPPORTS AGING IN PLACE
Among the many challenges people face as they age is reduced mobility, which hampers their ability to obtain focused and convenient care, to stay connected with their community, and to take part in broader social activity. Technological innovation can allow people to overcome these obstacles by increasing connectivity, delivering personalized attention and remote access to healthcare, and enabling interaction with distant friends and family members, and policymakers should foster an environment that supports such innovation.