Health care

The United States pays more for and gets less from its health care system than peer nations.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimate that about $870 billion of the $2.9 trillion spent on health care nationwide in 2014 was waste resulting from overuse, fraud and abuse. It drives up costs, putting a heavy burden on consumers and employers alike. Major companies, public employers, insurers and medical providers in Washington state are leading an effort to break that logjam, using something called value-based purchasing, in which health care is paid for not by volume but by quality and outcome.

If the body is driven more by information than by chemistry, why not treat disease with information? This question led Matthew Scholz to biology, and, ultimately, to Immusoft Corporation, a Seattle company he founded in 2009.

The Seattle startup Arivale wants to make you feel better, but don’t call it a health care business. CEO and cofounder Clayton Lewis says Arivale sells wellness, a category distinctly different from health care.

As technology improves and Americans spend more on treatments to cure or prevent disease and injury, 2016 is likely to be a challenging year in health care. Doctors, nurses and clinicians are learning to work in new and innovative ways as consumers rely on video consults and their smartphones as diagnostic tools. The 18 honorees in Seattle Business magazine’s 2016 Leaders in Health Care Awards are up to the challenge. All are champions for change, compassionate visionaries who believe in better patient care.

For the past several years, Julia Colson has helped bring free dental, vision and medical care to nearly 8,000 people in a safe and respectful environment. She is the project director for Seattle/King County Clinic, a large-scale, volunteer-driven free clinic event that has taken place at KeyArena during a four-day period in October 2014 and October 2015. The patients seen were primarily the working poor who waited in line overnight at Seattle Center to be admitted. Discussions and fundraising are under way to determine whether the event can be held again this October.

Designing a whole new world of proteins to address 21st-century problems in biomedicine, energy and technology is all in a day’s work for David Baker. Baker, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Sciences, is leading a team of researchers tackling the problem of protein folding with an online puzzle video game. A world-renowned expert in proteomics, Baker has his research group developing methods to predict and design the three-dimensional structures of proteins.

The heart and soul of Colleen Delaney’s medical practice is patient care. “To provide meaningful hope to patients where their future is uncertain and to walk that path with them is what I care most about,” she says. “I develop long-term relationships with my patients and their families. Now, I have the opportunity to make an even bigger impact on a more global scale. This drives me to work harder.”

Mark Adams is a change agent. He has been the catalyst for transforming the way CHI Franciscan delivers health care — improving patient access to care and advancing patient outcomes through innovative tools. He led the creation of CHI Franciscan’s Health and Informatics Department in 2013 and managed the successful systemwide implementation of the organization’s Epic EHR system on time and under budget.

Since joining The Polyclinic in 2001, Anita Geving has helped transform the company into the leading independent, multispecialty medical practice in the Puget Sound region. The clinic has grown from 83 physicians and 425 staff members in 2001 to more than 200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians today, along with 1,025 staff members. It provides care to more than 200,000 patients at 15 locations in and around Seattle.