What Stood Out in 2023?

10 Noteworthy Accomplishments in Healthcare

Most leaders agree that 2023 was a difficult year for healthcare. In this sea of challenges, it’s easy to overlook some tremendous successes. Rather than offer yet another article listing predictions for the next year, (which is extraordinarily difficult in healthcare) I want to offer some reflections on a few of the areas where healthcare really shone in 2023:

1. For the good of healthcare process improvement

Kudos to Google for launching MedLM or medical generative AI. It offers the promise of many exciting applications, including better patient access, experience, and outcomes; increased efficiency; reducing time, and improved speed and quality for pre-clinical research and development.

2. For the good of people struggling with obesity

What incredible strides were made in the field of obesity management this year! GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy showed amazing results both for weight loss and for meaningful health benefits beyond the scale, like lower risk of heart attacks and strokes. New FDA approvals mean more access – and while long term success depends on behavior change, this is more proof that we are on our way to a future where obesity is rare rather than the norm.

3. For the good of diversity in healthcare leadership

I was happy to see women transforming how healthcare companies are led this year:

  • Sarah London, Chief Executive Officer, Centene Corporation
  • Gail K. Boudreaux, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Elevance Health
  • Karen S. Lynch, President and Chief Executive Officer, CVS Health

These CEOs and other women in key leadership positions are ensuring representation across the board. Diversity doesn’t “trickle up” –it’s nice to see real leadership at the top.

4. For the good of digital health reimbursement

I was very impressed with how virtual reality therapeutic company AppliedVR was able to achieve a CMS code, paving the way for new approaches to digital health reimbursement. I’d love to see more inroads into reimbursement for digital.

5. For the good of telehealth

2023 saw big commitments to virtual primary care and a large study found that, contrary to popular belief and predictions, most virtual primary care visits actually did not require in person follow-up. This means that many problems can be addressed and even solved digitally.

6. For the good of digital health
In an environment where digital health is being challenged on the evidence, I do want to mention Dario’s impressive achievements this year. We collaborated with Sanofi to accelerate the mission of reversing the course of chronic diseases through the integration of healthcare and technology. Sanofi’s rigorous analyses of Dario member data resulted in four published studies with significant clinical, economic, and care quality outcomes, including:

  • $5,077 in cost savings for Dario users living with type 2 diabetes compared to non-users
  • 9.3% reduction in healthcare utilization
  • 23.5% reduction in in-patient hospitalizations
  • 1.6% reduction in A1C after Dario use in participants with a baseline HbA1c >8%

These are the types of results that payers and employers are rightfully demanding, and we’re optimistic that the ecosystem is changing towards stronger evidence.

7. For the good of integrated care

With the Oak Street Health deal, CVS pushes healthcare ambitions as investment in value-based care grows. Oak Street specializes in treating Medicare Advantage patients and its network of clinics is expected to grow to over 300 centers by 2026. Will the dream of integrated care for MA finally be within reach? Hats off to CVS on a major step forward to achieving this.

8. For the good of people with type 1 diabetes

Sanofi’s Tzield was the first drug to delay the onset of stage 3 type 1 diabetes.  Nobody has ever done that before, giving hope to young people living with this chronic condition.

9. For the good of children’s health

A new malaria vaccine is reducing toddler mortality rates by 13%.  Almost half a million children die of malaria annually in sub-Saharan Africa.  This vaccine is tremendous, life-changing news for children in these areas.

10. For the good of those who suffer in silence

I commend the suicide prevention program that CVS introduced this year. Given the sobering stat that 90% of people who die by suicide have a potentially treatable mental health condition, their goal of reducing suicide attempts by 20% among its Aetna members by the year 2025 makes sense.

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The company’s user-centric approach translates into members who use the program long-term.

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