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The CEOs of the world’s biggest drug and medical device companies envision a future in which patients pay for results, not individual pills or pacemakers. But no one’s quite sure how to get there, and at least one big gamble has found middling success.

Speaking at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the heads of Novartis and Medtronic said the current model of paying piecemeal for services won’t be sustainable as global populations age. Instead, the world’s payers will shift to a system in which drug and device companies are compensated based on whether they can keep patients in remission, out of the hospital, or cured of a disease.

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  • Interestingly, this is related to what patients do in functional and integrative medicine. When not helped by physicians, tests, drugs and treatments covered by their health plans, if able, they cautiously pay for and try physicians, tests, drugs and treatments they have heard about on a self-pay basis. Many are surprised to see improvements – and save their health plans money. What would happen if we brought patients into the equation for determining value, and for shared savings?

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