The Silicon Review
“Our model is uniquely scalable and adaptable to the latest technology breakthroughs, which we can rapidly incorporate into our workflows to support the highest quality patient care.”
The US spends nearly 20 percent of GDP on healthcare yet has the lowest life expectancy among comparable countries around the globe. This is because most care providers operate within a broken and unsustainable healthcare system that benefits from sick patients, and costs are only getting higher.
ChenMed, a national leader in primary care for underserved seniors, is on a mission to revolutionize the way we deliver healthcare in the United States. Headquartered in Miami and now serving members in more than 80 centers across the country, ChenMed has developed a value-based care model that allows it to provide VIP care at a lower cost to the most overlooked and underserved patients. With a suite of custom tools and analytics at their fingertips, ChenMed’s physicians are equipped to deliver the highest quality care, resulting in the outcomes their patients deserve.
In contrast to traditional fee-for-service physicians, ChenMed’s providers are responsible for the health outcomes of their patients. In support of this effort, ChenMed developed a technology suite that focuses on proactive, not reactive, care management and care coordination of the patient’s entire life. This approach has earned accolades from the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the UK National Health System, as well as several publications including Modern Healthcare, Health Affairs, Forbes, and The Economist. In addition, Medical Economics named ChenMed ‘Best Primary Care System in the US’, and Fortune listed ChenMed as the only healthcare delivery organization on its 2020 list of companies that are ‘Changing the World’.
To understand more about ChenMed’s pursuit to be America’s leading primary care provider, I sat down with Dr. Christopher Chen and Hernando Celada, who serve as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer, respectively.
Below is an Excerpt.
Q. Tell us what inspired the creation of ChenMed.
Dr. Christopher Chen: Our family knows firsthand what it is like to experience poverty. Growing up in an underserved, forgotten, oppressed, and unjust neighborhood, we know what it is like to experience homelessness and use Medicaid and food stamps.
In 2003, my father, Dr. Jen-Ling James Chen, was diagnosed with cancer and given two months to live. Our family experienced the frustrations of navigating the healthcare system where profits, not patients, are the focus. While my dad fought for his life, our family fought for access and coordinated care.
After his recovery, my dad was determined to revolutionize the healthcare delivery system. He set out to expand ChenMed to provide accountable, compassionate, and coordinated physician-led, family-oriented primary care for all. At the center of his ChenMed vision is an enduring mission that began in the 1980s with his first primary care practice in Miami Gardens, Florida: to offer affordable, human-centered care to medically underserved communities.
Q. How does ChenMed empower physicians to deliver better outcomes? And how does the company promote the doctor-patient relationship?
Dr. Christopher Chen: With the patient at the forefront, we transformed our business from solely a primary care provider into the technology-enabled healthcare system of the future. Custom-developed, cutting-edge technology fuels our model and empowers our providers with the tools they need to help patients live happier and healthier lives.
Our systems at ChenMed enable our PCPs and care teams to tackle high-risk events before they even occur through frequent preventive care touches and tighter management of all the issues that impact the patient’s well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need to understand and incorporate social determinants of health in a patient’s care plan. Instead of providing reactive care when our patients are sick, we help keep them healthy 24/7. With custom tools, analytics, and artificial intelligence / machine learning capabilities available, our teams are enabled to be successful every day in delivering the best clinical and financial outcomes.
Q. What makes value-based care different?
Dr. Christopher Chen: The need for value-based care has never been more critical. The COVID-19 pandemic has made evident that our current system is expensive, unsustainable, and undermines what it claims to protect most: its patients’ health and well-being.
In a value-based care system, we incentivize care differently. We seek to offer the best possible care by doing more routine preventive care for patients to catch high-risk diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes earlier on in a patient’s care, thereby reducing their likelihood of having an expensive hospitalization or emergency room visit. This reduces our patients’ financial burden and keeps them where they want to be: at home, with family, doing what they like to do instead of sitting in the hospital. And we have been successful so far—our patients experience 30 percent fewer hospitalizations and make up a smaller portion of Medicare patients who visit the emergency room.
The fee-for-service healthcare system is broken. Technology alone won’t fix it, but we can’t fix it without the right technology as an enabler to doing good value-based care. Our disruptive care model paired with our groundbreaking technology shows that a better way is possible, and we can create the health system we all deserve. Change is past due, and ChenMed plans to lead it.
Q. Will your company be expanding, bringing on any new services that we should be aware of?
Hernando Celada: With 2020’s pandemic, our mission to deliver better health had new urgency, new challenges and new determination. Using innovative software and technology, we quickly pivoted to offering our most vulnerable patients telemedicine options using our own proprietary tools.
Furthermore, ChenMed is growing rapidly, and we are opening new centers at a quicker pace than ever before. Our new centers are in areas that need our VIP care most — low-income, underserved, overlooked communities of seniors who in many cases are receiving equitable access to care for the first time.
Q. What plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?
Hernando Celada: ChenMed’s technology suite has matured substantially over decades to meet the needs of our patients, providers, and the value-based care delivery system we operate in.
Because we own and control our technology platform, our teams of best-in-class developers, data scientists, and software engineers can quickly build or adapt features and functionality to match changing business needs and better support our growth. It’s a competitive advantage over providers reliant upon major technology vendors whose primary business is to serve customers with disparate fee-for-service and value-based needs. In addition, our model is uniquely scalable and adaptable to the latest technology breakthroughs, which we can rapidly incorporate into our workflows to support the highest quality patient care.
By adopting the best technology practices and applying them in support of our model, we continue to revolutionize the healthcare landscape as we know it.
Leadership | ChenMed
Dr. Christopher Chen, MD, is the Chief Executive Officer of ChenMed. He is leading a healthcare revolution through the family-owned company that bears his name. Since becoming ChenMed’s CEO in 2009, he has created a highly scalable, technology-driven approach and has grown the company more than 30 percent per year. Today, ChenMed boasts more than 80 medical centers in 12 states.
Hernando Celada is the Chief Information Officer of ChenMed. Hernando has a proven track record of aligning IT and business strategy, executing with efficiency, scaling a business, and building a high performing team that values company culture. His experience includes developing world-class software products and solutions to drive successful business outcomes.