On Thursday, October 3, dozens of experts took the stage and educated hundreds of attendees about what will drive the American health care system in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) era. From Accountable Care Organizations and Patient-Centered Medical Homes to data-sharing and telemedicine, the future of healthcare is being fueled by innovation that will improve quality and bend the cost curve in the months and years ahead. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association President and CEO Scott P. Serota opened the conference, welcoming attendees and sharing how Blue Plans across the country are using innovation to drive down costs and improve quality. Mr. Serota explained how Blue Plans are driving innovative value-based care programs for members. “The Blues are engaging with more than 150,000 primary care physicians in care models like Accountable Care Organizations, Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Pay-for-Performance and Episode-Based payment programs.” Today, more than 23 million Blue members receive care through these programs. “All of our 37 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies – which collectively cover 100 million Americans in every ZIP code in every state – are committed to providing the communities we serve with the secure and stable coverage for which the Blue Brands are known.” Independence Blue Cross President and CEO Dan Hilferty participated in a panel, “Bending the Curve: Can Health Reform Close the Rising Cost of Health Care?” Mr. Hilferty described how his company is working with providers to create care models that are focused on less on volume and more on quality care. “We think the nexus point is in the physician’s office,” he explained, “in a Patient-Centered Medical Home.” Independence works with a telemedicine provider to reach members in rural Pennsylvania and pursues secure data-sharing services with their provider network to ensure care information reaches the care team when and where it’s needed. “Innovation is getting the right information to the right doctor at the right time to get the patient the right care,” he explained Independence Blue Cross President and CEO Dan Hilferty (third from left, above) illustrated how his company is bending the cost curve by partnering with providers to create and implement innovative care-delivery programs. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, offered his thoughts on the political and implementation aspects of the Affordable Care Act during the lunch session. Attendees were encouraged to tweet their comments and questions. Find the archive by searching Twitter for “#NJCountdown.” Experts from across the healthcare spectrum participated in the event, including representatives from the American Medical Association, Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, American Cancer Society, American College of Surgeons, National Retail Federation and the National Small Business Association., as well as Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, US Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and US Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX).