Driving Results Blog

By Jake Crampton

The Driving Results Blog is a space for MedSpeed’s CEO, Jake Crampton, to share insights about a variety of healthcare topics. Occasionally, other members of the MedSpeed leadership team will use this space to discuss matters of particular importance to them.





Can Healthcare Continue Its Outperformance Streak?

As a sector, healthcare has had a good run. According to S&P, “The health care sector has outperformed the broader market over each of the last five years.” That’s the good news.

Yet, despite a stable outlook, and even optimism that healthcare can continue to outperform the broader market in 2016, S&P notes some challenges.

The nonprofit sector’s stability is predicated on a boost from Medicaid expansion and the insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. But, there are negative pressures at nonprofits, including difficulty with poor IT installation, weaker patient volumes and the cost of absorbing physician practices. “The strongest hospitals and health systems are likely to just hold existing margin and reserve levels, while weaker providers will likely continue to see operating margin and cash flow erosion and eventually balance sheet pressure.”

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Health Transformation Alliance Looking to Disrupt Healthcare for Its Employees

When 20 of the United States’ largest companies (including American Express, Coca-Cola and Verizon) announced the formation of the Health Transformation Alliance that covers approximately four million people, they got everyone’s attention. In creating the Alliance, the companies have banded together to use their collective data and market power in a bid to hold down the cost of health-care benefits.

Alliance members intend to share information about employee health spending and outcomes, with a goal to use those findings to change how they contract for care. According to the Wall Street Journal, some members say they might even form a purchasing cooperative to negotiate for lower prices, or attempt to change their relationships with insurance administrators and drug-benefit managers.

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Air Traffic Control and Healthcare?

I recently read a MedCityNews post that used an air traffic control metaphor to describe what the future of healthcare could look like. The article compares the future of hospital operations with how air traffic control’s efficient and streamlined scheduling and operations transformed air travel.

The idea of pulling together activities that if treated individually and uncoordinated could be dangerous and/or cause service disruption resonates. We look at healthcare logistics in a similar manner. How can we take activities that used to be handled individually and develop new processes and infrastructure to turn those individual components into something better?

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University of Chicago’s New Venture Challenge Turns 20

A few weeks ago, Crain’s Chicago Business published an article that focused on the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ New Venture Challenge (NVC). The NVC was started 20 years ago. It is what started MedSpeed on the path it is on today and I was fortunate to be able to be a part of it.

I share this article because I appreciate the opportunity this program provided to me, and MedSpeed. I thank the NVC and Crain’s Chicago Business for highlighting the great things that this program is doing to encourage entrepreneurialism across the country.

Systemness: Integrating to deliver seamless, cost-effective, high quality care

Systemness is a term that is being used more and more frequently in healthcare. The word itself is a bit clumsy, but its meaning very much affects our industry.

A recent post from the Advisory Board Company describes it this way, “at its essence, systemness is about integrating all aspects of a health system’s governance, operations, and workflows—across all technologies, clinicians, and locations—to deliver seamless, cost-effective, high-quality care.”

The Advisory Board recently conducted a survey of over 150 health system executives, and the conclusion was that those leaders said, “in no uncertain terms that their organizational success depends on greater integration, and greater integration depends on their ability to do concrete things that reduce variation, improve coordination, and improve the flow of information.”

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Logistic Toxicity

Like the author of a post on Forbes titled “Logistic Toxicity, An Unmeasured Burden Of Healthcare,” I too had never heard of the term “logistic toxicity.” As described, it refers to the difficulty patients who are being treated for cancer encounter when trying to deal with their treatments and the morass of separate bills they receive from separate providers over a long period of time, not to mention coordinating frequent medical appointments, arranging for time off of work, for childcare or caregiving.

All of these logistical requirements can compound the physical and financial toll of this terrible disease and the term “logistic toxicity” really got me thinking about the level of logistic toxicity that exists in our healthcare systems themselves – in addition to the emotional challenges faced by patients and their loved ones.

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Why Questioning the Status Quo Builds Better Leaders to “Think Different”

There’s a post that I read a while back on Inc. that keeps coming back to me. “Why Great Leaders Question the Status Quo: Being a thoughtful, creative leader means moving beyond the confines of tradition,” was written by Micah Solomon.

We all know of great thinkers and business leaders who question the status quo, and Solomon cites the late Steve Jobs of Apple as a prime example. The indelibly memorable “Think Different” advertising campaign that helped bring Apple back from the brink in 1997 completely highlighted the fact that Apple products and its leader were different from the rest of the world.

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What’s Keeping Healthcare CEOs up at Night?

We know that today’s CEOs face unprecedented challenges. New regulations and declining payments are two of the biggest hurdles, but what else keeps healthcare leaders up at night? I recently read a survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions that I found very interesting.

The survey asked that very question of CEOs at large hospitals and health systems (greater than $1 billion in revenue). Unsurprisingly, the CEOs anticipate that value-based care (VBC) will reshape the future of healthcare. As hospitals are paid differently, profitability will be harder to achieve.

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The Benefits of Departmental Blurred Lines at Healthcare Organizations

Not too long ago, I wrote about how the role of healthcare CFOs have transformed from being “number crunchers” into strategic business partners within their organizations. A recent article in Becker’s Hospital CFO that focused on two specific healthcare CFOs who have more day-to-day involvement within their organizations, made me want to revisit and further explore this topic of cross-functional engagement.

With readmissions impacting reimbursement, Pamela Hess, CFO of Saint Thomas Midtown and Saint Thomas West hospitals notes that she has gotten far more involved in meetings and initiatives including quality and infection control. While these are not the places we traditionally think CFOs are involved, Hess says she has learned a lot.

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Frugal Innovation: Healthcare’s Answer to Transformation?

Often, innovation and technology are thought of as the same thing. But, aren’t there ways to innovate that aren’t tied to huge investments in the latest and greatest technology? Innovation isn’t only about “stuff,” it’s also about looking at new or different approaches that can move the needle on productivity and other outcomes.

Along these lines, a recent Becker’s Health IT article caught my attention. The subject was “frugal innovation,” the idea of doing more with less. The healthcare industry is particularly primed to take a serious look at frugal innovation.

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