Higher Thinking

Quick, timely blog posts. Thought-provoking trends. How-to guides and in-depth case studies. Use this page to explore all of our best thinking on US healthcare delivery, plus the occasional news from our firm. Find something that inspires or troubles you? Contact us any time – we’d love to be your thought partner in delivering more accessible, sustainable, and equitable healthcare. >>

A group of doctors and nurses in blue scrubs walking away from the camera. Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplaush.

Medicare (Dis)Advantage: Hospitals Count the Cost

Medicare Advantage now covers more than half of U.S. seniors, putting huge new strains on healthcare delivery.
Dollars and healthcare items scattered on a light blue background. Photo by Anastasiia Gudantova.

Total Cost of Care: Lessons from the Maryland Model

A Maryland expert shares her experience with total cost of care as CMS pushes other states to consider the approach.
Crumpled paper next to a paper airplane illustrates the concept of CMS's new AHEAD model.

Can a New CMS Model Move Healthcare Transformation AHEAD?

Thoughts on the newest CMS model, based on our deep expertise with Maryland's TCOC model.
abstract lighthouse watercolor

Ascendient’s Guide to the Maryland Model and the Path AHEAD

Maryland's experiment with Total Cost of Care offers a glimpse of the future for states considering the new AHEAD model from CMS.
An abstract watercolor painting of the sun is the symbol of Ascendient's Healthcare Horizons series, including this installment on health equity strategy

Disruption Alert: Mayo’s Hospital at Home Program

Mayo Clinic's innovative, hub-and-spoke hospital at home program offers encouraging clinical and financial results – plus the potential for large-scale industry disruption.
An abstract watercolor painting of the sun is the symbol of Ascendient's Healthcare Horizons series, including this installment on health equity strategy

Rural Telehealth: Re-Thinking the Timeline

Rural telehealth can seem like a distant dream due to broadband access issues, but the future is here today if you simply look up.
A 3D construction by Volodymyr Hryshchenko -- green and yellow papers forming a conversation bubble -- illustrate the idea of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT for Hospitals: 3 Burning Questions

We asked a leading expert to answer 3 important questions about how hospitals might use AI technologies such as ChatGPT.
A blue butterfly and green cocoons illustrate the concept of transforming healthcare. Photo by Håkon Grimstad via Unsplash.

Can an Insurance Company Transform Healthcare?

An upstart insurance company hopes to transform healthcare with a carrot-and-stick approach to primary care. Here's why it matters.
McLeod Health CEO Donna Isgett discusses her experience with Ascendient's Healthytown model for strategic planning

Healthcare Transformation Consulting: A CEO Testimonial

Donna Isgett, CEO of McLeod Health, discusses the growing momentum of healthcare transformation...
A mobile phone displays the Amazon logo on its home screen

Healthcare Strategy: 4 Lessons from Amazon Care

If you think the end of Amazon Care represents a failure, then maybe it's time to re-examine your definition of healthcare strategy.

Steering Two Competing Systems Toward a Population Health Center

In one rural market, we created a blueprint for cooperation rather than unsustainable competition between failing providers.
A lone orange chair in an empty room illustrates the issue faced by rural hospitals with too many unused inpatient rooms

3 Ways to “Upcycle” Those Unused Inpatient Hospital Rooms

There's likely to be a glut of unused inpatient hospital rooms when REH status picks up steam. Here are 3 ways to put those rooms to use.
Wooden pews with red cushions illustrate the idea that churches can help to make primary care more accessible

How a Church-Based Clinic Is Making Primary Care More Accessible

Accessible primary care is a key to population health. Community assets like churches & schools might be the best way to meet the need.
A nighttime view into a dimly lit pharmacy

Debating the Role of Pharmacy in Healthcare Transformation

Thanks to their ubiquity and familiarity, pharmacies can play an important role in healthcare transformation – if policymakers allow them to.
Walgreens is investing billions of dollars to expand VillageMD value-based care

Corporations Are Betting Big on Value-Based Care

Companies are investing billions in value-based care – a good sign for healthcare transformation but a potential problem for traditional providers.
A physician assistant takes the blood pressure of a patient

Physician Assistants: the Future of Team-Based Care?

Physician assistants can help relieve the looming physician shortage, but only when they're allowed to practice at the top of their license.
An IV bag is isolated on a blue background. Because we can't determine the location, the photo illustrates the versatility of Hospital at Home programs.

Hospital at Home: Answering the $30,000 Question

Covid-19 gave a big boost to Hospital at Home efforts. With higher satisfaction, lower costs, and better outcomes, the trend looks unstoppable.
A colorful tangle of measuring tapes illustrates that hospital community benefit can be difficult to measure

Hospital Community Benefit: How Do You Measure and Why Should You Care?

Hospital community benefit is tough to measure, but it's worth the effort – both for more equitable healthcare and better hospital finances.

Re-Thinking Retail

As Amazon and others invest in healthcare delivery, traditional providers need to re-think their approach to consumers.
An orange sunset lights up a country road and a nearby water tower – a metaphor for the coming darkness in rural healthcare

Reconfiguring Rural Healthcare Access

"Saving" hospitals isn't the lone solution for struggling communities. Instead, think about prioritizing services for rural healthcare access.