Interview with Cyndy Nayer from the Center for Health Value Innovation

I had a chance yesterday to sit down and talk with Cyndy Nayer (President, CEO, and co-founder) from the Center For Health Value Innovation. For some of you, this is a new buzzword for others it has been around a while. I remember back in the early 2000s when stories of Pitney Bowes kept popping up and then working with a few of our clients (like Marriott) when I was at Express Scripts on what were being called “value-based designs”. [I even had an offer to go to ActiveHealth (now part of Aetna) and work on their Value Based offerings several years ago.]

And, it’s a small world. Several people from my past are involved: (1) Peter Hayes was a client at Express Scripts and (2) Roy Lamphier played soccer with me in high school.

What is the Center For Health Value Innovation?

The center is an “information exchange” for value based design which as she points out is much more than just a prescription benefit and not simply giving people free drugs to make them more compliant. [If only it were that easy!]

What do you mean by Information Exchange?

A place where people can share stories, trends, info, and research. They see their job as getting information out there and providing support around modeling, analysis, and identifying gaps. [And, I know they do a lot of education as you can see Cyndy at many conferences.] She talked about educating the marketplace on an “actionable format” for implementing value-based design.

Can you describe Value Based Design?

Value Based Design is a suite of insurance design, incentives, and disincentives that support prevention and wellness, chronic care management, and care delivery. It is focused on linking stakeholders across the care continuum and developing structures like outcomes-based contracting where all stakeholders benefit from better health outcomes.

She mentioned that in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Benefits and Compensation that there will be a paper that builds on some adherence concepts to discuss the 5 Cs of Value Based Design: [Noting that the first 3 come from some work from Merck.]

  • Commitment
  • Concern
  • Cost
  • Communication
  • Community

We talked about the need for communications to be multi-directional and include the patient, the physician, the pharmacy, and other caregivers. We talked about community needing to expand on that to include family, the employer, and other entities. [As we all know, health care is local and value based design is no different.]

We spent a little time here talking about community, and the need for this to happen at a community level. [Much like e-prescribing and other things have found out that localized momentum is important.] One question in my mind is who is the catalyst – the hospitals, the physicians, the local managed care companies, employers, grocery stores, wellness companies, pharmacies.

We talked about the fact that this isn’t the same as Accountable Care Organizations, but like that concept, this has to be developed as part of the fabric of the community not imposed on the community.

Being from Detroit, I asked if this was a model for them to help develop around. That is an area of focus and there has been some work done in the Battle Creek, Michigan area.

Why are employers so interested in Value Based Design?

Originally, employers were interested since it was something new, but the recession forced them to look at this more seriously. But, this is a long-term process and something which they benefit from. Better health lowers absenteeism, and businesses need health communities and healthy workers for growth.

Why don’t companies implement Value Based Design programs?

Companies don’t implement them because they’re not prepared for the amount of work needed to get started and it’s not a cheap fix. [If you want to save money, just drop the benefits…not that anyone really advocates that.] We talked about that lots of people react to the urban legends of just giving out free drugs [which isn’t Value Based Design] which would be easy. Companies need to realize there is work to be done to communicate this, design it, and manage the implementation across the community. BUT, once it’s installed, it’s completely sustainable.

Is there a certification (i.e., URAC) for value-based design?

She told me that nothing exists today and that it would be hard to do. Today, there isn’t alignment in the marketplace around incentives and a standard model. They spend a lot of time working with different groups to drive education and training to link health and productivity measurement with value and functional performance.

What’s next for 2010?

In 2010, they will be bringing much more information forward on how to support and extend the work done in the 1st book (Leveraging Health…which Dr. Jan Berger, Silverlink’s Chief Medical Officer co-authored with the Center) and the decision matrix that they recently published. They will continue to serve more as a guide helping interested parties in private, invitation only events to design solutions and then bring those solutions to market.

How does someone learn more about Value Based Design?

The simple answer is to go to the Center For Health Value Innovation website. They have a whole library of information there.


  1. An interview, by George (Van Antwerp) | Center for Health Value Innovation - October 18, 2010

    […] Interview with Cyndy Nayer from the Center for Health Value Innovation […]

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