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Showing posts from February, 2010

News You Can Use From A Health Care Strategist Perspective

More from the New York Times on radiation therapy's safety and billing practices. See other Health Care Strategist posts on the subject here and here.

From Harvard Business Review, Nathan Myhrvold's big idea on funding inventions:
"What we’re really trying to do is create a capital market for inventions akin to the venture capital market that supports start-ups and the private equity market that revitalizes inefficient companies. Our goal is to make applied research a profitable activity that attracts vastly more private investment than it does today so that the number of inventions generated soars."Allina Hospitals and Clinics names N. Marcus Thygeson, M.D. as President, Center For Health Care Innovation.
"...the Center for Health Care Innovation at Allina supports the organization’s research activities by incubating new ideas and accelerating the adoption of evidence-based practices that support the integration and coordination of patient care to achieve clinica…

Alexander Hamilton - Founding Father & Strategy Consultant

Wish your organization was more invested in your strategic plan? Did you announce the plan with some fanfare only to watch it land with a hollow 'thud?' Are your grand visions yawn-inducing or huzzah-worthy? Business-as-usual becoming depressingly usual?

Listen to Alexander Hamilton, political philosopher, Federalist Papers author, framer of constitutions and, on the subject of strategic engagement, a man ahead of his time:

"Men (and women) often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike." (Alexander Hamilton (1755 - 1804))

I can't help you with the whole 'dislike' thing (at least in the short term) but "reducing opposition" by giving stakeholders more "agency in planning" is my business.

Time to grow. E-mail me at if you agree.

Chicago's Startup Ecosystem Gets A Boost

Personally, I think any growth-oriented hospital above a certain size and level of sophistication ought to be working on a business incubator strategy. Learn a few lessons from this recent "Crains Chicago Business" article featuring developments in the Chicago startup community.

Lesson #1: Money AND coaching go well together...
"Among those leading the charge are some Chicago heavyweights. A new incubator-slash-boot-camp called Excelerate offers up to $20,000 in funding to startups chosen for an intensive 10-week program to start this summer. It also offers access to a group of mentors that includes entrepreneurial icons like Howard Tullman, Michael Ferro and Genevieve Thiers. Excelerate is taking applications through March 18.

Also throwing their weight behind startup support are two of the city's most prolific and proficient technology entrepreneurs. Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky emerged from the dot-com boom-and-bust to build InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logisti…

TEXO Ventures - Building Innovative Healthcare Companies In Texas

Curious about health care's future? Get a glimpse by watching what venture capitalists are doing TODAY. The bets they're placing offer hints to the possible, the probable and the 'unlikely but can't rule it out' game-changers.

In recent VC news, Austin, TX-based TEXO Ventures announces the official launch of their investment approach, "...drawing on (partner) expertise in healthcare and business development to create a new model for building innovative healthcare companies."

TEXO Ventures describes itself as...
"(...investing in and building) innovative healthcare companies, but — more importantly — (investing) in passionate entrepreneurs dedicated to advancing the art, science, and business of healthcare. We work side-by-side with these company founders, providing both the capital investment and expert collaboration necessary to move young healthcare companies towards successful commercialization"A late-2009 Venture View 2010 survey from the Nat…

A new concept in financing: 'Crowdfunding' | Enterprise City | Crain's Chicago Business

A new concept in financing: 'Crowdfunding' | Enterprise City | Crain's Chicago Business

(Posted using ShareThis)

Is the crowd smarter than you? Here's a way to find out: do a "New Venture Fair." You do Safety Fairs and HIPAA Fairs and Quality Fairs, right? Just extend the idea and the format to innovation.

Gather 50 new ideas - creative, innovative, unexpected things you could do but haven't committed to yet. Set up a poster display for each idea in some unused meeting room (trust me, it'll be the best use of the room in years...)

Invite patients (past and present), physicians (yours and others) and all employees to the event, maybe even volunteers, board members and community representatives. Give them each $1,000 in "Monopoly Money credits" to deploy among the ideas as they see fit. $50 to this idea, $500 to that one.

At day's end, total the credits given to each idea. There you have it: an efficient, low-cost crowdsourced innovation…

The Health Care Strategist Daily Dose...

Ideas and trends meriting your attention, from Steve Davis, Health Care Strategist:

From TED, an idea worth spreading: Eric Topol on the wireless future of medicine where we'll monitor all our vital signs on our own smartphone.

From MedCity News, University Hospitals Case Medical Center spins off Fluence Therapeutics Inc., licensing to the company photodynamic therapy technology for the treatment of skin disease. Interesting trend reflecting hospitals' more active roles in incubating startup ideas.

From Business Week Magazine, The Fundamentals Of Innovation. "Innovation is about growth, and growth takes empathy, creativity and execution."

The venture capitalists at High Country Venture LLC secured $25 million for its second health and IT-focused fund. The more venture capital flows into health care, the more the industry is restructured and the more hospital usage is seen as what you resort to when everything else fails. A.k.a. the end of the food chain.

From the Scien…

Consult A Doctor 24/7 Raises $5 Million In Series A Funding

From, "a public forum for private equity," Telemedicine solutions provider Consult A Doctor 24/7 announced that it closed a $5 million Series A round financing.
"This financing provides working capital to accelerate the adoption and utilization of our consumer directed telemedicine services and to expand additional cost cutting services such as Consult A Specialist, Labs and a flu program to name a few,” said Wolf Shlagman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Consult A Doctor. Shlagman goes on to say “Consult A Doctor’s health care solutions accelerate the transformation to a consumer-driven healthcare revolution that lowers costs while providing greater access to affordable, quality health care - giving more choice, more control and more savings to everyone.”'Interesting that part of the investor group is "New World Angels," a group of 40 entrepreneurs who have decided to live, work and invest in the South Florida area.

The Future Looks Pretty Much Like the Past...

...only different. In his new book "Sonic Boom: Globalization At Mach Speed" author Gregg Easterbrook gives us five things to think about during these trying times:

Climate change will change everything. High-latitude regions win.
Manufacturing will be obsolete. Even China will lose factory jobs.
College is our secret weapon. The U.S. has more great colleges than the rest of the world combined.
Women will double the world's supply of ideas. Doubled brainpower = 2X the solutions.
Militarism will decline. Market share matters more than territory.Easterbrook predicts a "...chaotic, raucous, unpredictable, stress-inducing, free, prosperous, well-informed cover your ears!"

"Sonic Boom" looks like an interesting addition to my "to-read" shelf.

Thinking about health care, though, that fourth point - women doubling the world's supply of ideas - intrigues me. Health care providers' workforce is predominately female, yet, as an in…

"Move Your Money" Responds To "Too Big To Fail But Not Too Proud To Be Bailed Out"

It's a great time to be an "economic carnage" observer and junkie. Between financial services' meltdown and Toyota's unintended acceleration, there's sufficient material for a lifetime of Tweets and blogs.

In this January, 2010 Health Care Strategist post for example, I predicted the financial services industry would begin to suffer, among other things, growing customer defections. I wrote of...
"...watching a real-time experiment in the consequences of pissing-off customers AND sticking them with the bill. Given enough time, and some credible options, customers act in all sorts of unexpected ways. Mostly, though, they just leave.

"It may take time to develop, but watch out for the coming disintermediation of financial services. Gone are the money center financial supermarkets. They may be "too big to fail" but that doesn't confer immunity from the hurricane of shifting customer loyalty. There's no such thing as "too big to be…

The Latest Innovative Ideas From

Every few days, a new batch of innovations land in my inbox courtesy of Springwise and its global network of 8,000 "idea spotters." Many are of the "what a great idea!" variety. A few are of the (slap of the forehead) "Wow I wish I'd thought of that!" type.

Among this week's features:
The Gruve Fitness Monitor - a wearable fitness device, developed in cooperation with Mayo Clinic, that "keeps track of the user's metabolic progress against his or her pre-measured metabolism." The information is then synced with Gruve's web site for tracking and analysis. A key target market is corporations looking to reduce the cost impact of obesity and sedentary lifestyles.RevaHealth, an Irish web site that lets medical tourists find and review medical clinics. Built around a rich data set of locations, specializations, treatments and services, RevaHealth is billed as a "triumph for transparency in a sector where consumers really can…

"The Price Of Being A Sheep..."

I've added a widget from GapingVoid Gallery in the sidebar down to the right. Here's a sample of what you'll see every day:

"One of the most difficult things to contend with in a hospital is that assumption on the part of the staff that because you have lost your gall bladder you have also lost your mind." (Jean Kerr)

Do You Have A "Stop-Doing List?"

Of course ambitious organizations like yours have strategic plans loaded with things to do. But do you have an equally disciplined list of things you need to STOP doing?

You've emphasized process improvement and Lean manufacturing, downsizing and efficiency-seeking. You've told your physicians and nurses that to do otherwise places your organization at great risk. They might even buy it...until they stop to think about how administrative processes seem to grow at their own pace regardless, often with little (if any) evidence of added value or improved performance.

Mysteriously, processes originating in the boardroom or some walnut-paneled corner office escape scrutiny, as if the value is always self-evident.

What if you scrutinized your administrative decision-making processes with the same zeal you exhibit when talking "evidence-based medicine" with physicians? What value are those processes delivering? How can that value be realized with less work? What work i…

Some Unhappy Math On Brand Value

In 2008 Business Week magazine ranked Toyota's brand 6th globally, pegging a brand value (in millions) of $34,050. The methodology - from branding consultancy Interbrand - uses several factors:
Calculating the percentage of a company's sales falling under a specific brand.Determining the earnings derived from that specific brand's power by removing operating costs, taxes and capital charges from earnings. What's left is earnings derived from intangible assets - brand power but also patents and management strength.
Estimating the brand's effect relative to the other two and discounting future earnings produces an estimated net present "brand value."How have Toyota's recent quality issues affected the brand?

Until recently many Toyotas in the $20,000-to-$25,000 price range sold for a premium over sticker of as much as $2,000. Now, as reported in today's Wall Street Journal, they're selling for $500 below invoice, or $2,000 below retail. And tha…

"Health Care Needs Two Characteristics: Inquisitiveness and Courage."

Says Molly Joel Coye, M.D., CEO of the Health Technology Center in San Francisco, writing in Hospitals and Health Networks:
"A job description for the leaders capable of carrying (health care) through the next wave of changes would include skills, intellect, understanding of the complexities of health care and fortitude. But above all, we need two characteristics: inquisitiveness and courage.

"Why" is a powerful word. Hospital leaders should relentlessly inquire why we do what we shouldn't, why we don't do what we should, and how we can discover better, cheaper, more satisfactory ways of providing care and running our enterprises.

Inquisitiveness can mean not only why, but also why not. If we know certain changes can save lives and dollars, why do we not undertake them?

The second characteristic we need is what philosophers call "moral courage." It's harder to marshal than bravery under fire. Eddie Rickenbacker pondered why "physical courage is…

Question Of the Day

You're a health care communicator. Your CEO just came to you and said "Our employees aren't enthusiastic about our strategic plan. They're not engaged. Many aren't even aware. Fix it please!"

Here's the question: How do you respond?

With the safe answer? "I'll put an article in the employee newsletter." Or,

With the honest answer? "Perhaps we should do less telling and more involving."

"Take Me Out To the (Ad Message Here) Ball Game!"

The Wall Street Journal reviews stadium naming deals and finds little point in raging against the practice, but even scanter evidence that brand sponsors always get what they're paying for.
"A study in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Advertising Research showed that naming-rights deals do help the companies—at least in the short term. The stock prices of 49 companies studied rose an average 1.7% the day they announced such agreements.

"But a 2003 paper in the Journal of Sports Economics that tracked the stocks of 54 companies for 20 days after the signings showed that only two showed a statistically significant difference—and in both cases, the stock price fell. "Naming rights is about one thing: boys with toys," says the study's co-author, Michael Leeds, an economics professor at Temple University."Health care boys (and girls) like toys, too. There's Parkview Field in Ft. Wayne, IN, a $3 million deal over ten years.

The Methodist Hospital System …

Are You Easy To Compete Against?

Of all the strategic plans I review, most contain at least a reference to competitor data - market share, operating margins, perhaps a bit of publicly available quality and satisfaction data. Yet plans often show little understanding of WHY the data are there, beyond the "Well, we're following an outline and it says we should review competitor data in Section 3 so there it is..."

Snapshots of last year's competitor performance are nice if you're writing history. And, yes, sometimes a sense of history provides a context to help you make sense of a confusing future. But for leaders growing companies, history is better left to historians.

You want to be difficult to compete against.

That requires, among other things, better foresight, not more detailed history. Your focus belongs on the future - yours and theirs.

Ask yourself:
What are my competitors' intentions?
How does what they've done affect what they will do next year and the year after?What new entrants…

Mayo Clinic Closes Dubai Cardiology Service

From the Post-Bulletin: Mayo Clinic recently announced the closing of cardiology services at its clinic location in the Dubai Healthcare City. A spokesman indicated that Mayo "...found it difficult to sustain a viable financial model in Dubai because of its remote location."

The office remains open, providing information about Mayo's services and assistance arranging clinic visits.

Top 10 Barriers To EHR Implementation

From John Halamka's "Life As A Healthcare CIO" blog, here are the top 10 barriers to EHR implementation. Be sure to read the 2nd list with its "Lettermen-esque" take on life in the health care trenches.

I especially like this:
2. When you ask vendors how they justify the claim that their products are 2011 certified (and the certification process has not yet been announced), they show you a Ouija Board.

Booz & Company's 2010 Health Industry Perspective

Consultants at Booz & Company offer their 2010 Health Industry Perspective. According to the report, providers have the luxury of some time to change but need to get with it;
"A new era characterized by bundled payments and value for money is rapidly approaching; subsequent waves of healthcare reform will move providers aggressively in that direction. Already, the sector has been pursuing mostly appropriate strategies that will be in harmony with those goals. The biggest challenge for providers, though, may be envisioning the end game and defining their overarching strategies. A broader and more aggressive vision is needed.

"Although demand-side controls are off the table for this wave of reform, the fact remains that both the provision of healthcare services and lifestyle choices by consumers, not insurance, drive the vast majority of healthcare expenditures. Providers are well-positioned to improve both of these leading factors but have yet to commit to the sort of ch…

New York Presbyterian Develops A Self-Serve PHR

From CMIO magazine, New York Presbyterian Hospital uses Microsoft's HealthVault and Amalga technologies to offer patients a self-serve PHR.

According to Aurelia Boyer, chief information officer at NYP,
" is patient controlled and offers the individual the ability to consolidate and organize a range of medical information including medications, surgery reports, hospital discharge instructions, laboratory, radiology and EKG results, immunization schedule and history, allergy information, doctor and insurance information and emergency contacts. The health data provided by is annotated with customized explanations to help patients understand their medical tests and procedures."Hundreds of people a week are signing up, with total enrollment now over 5,000. 80% of patients think it's "great." 100% say they'd recommend MyNYP to friends.