Tina Freese Decker, MHA, MSIE, FACHE, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Spectrum Health
Freese Decker oversaw a $300 million transformation of care models and installation of Epic, an electronic clinical and revenue cycle platform. She also championed the launch of MedNow at Spectrum Health, a proprietary telemedicine service. By employing a virtual medicine strategy, the health system reduced hospital utilization and costs, and increased virtual visits by 355% over the prior year. In addition, the health system saw positive movement in employee and physician satisfaction during this extensive care transformation effort. Feese Decker has a commitment to building engagement, collaboration, and a culture of inclusivity supported a “people first” environment.
Freese Decker was also integral to Spectrum Health’s graduate medical education transition to a direct sponsorship model, resulting in a new Spectrum Health—Michigan State University department for 300 residents and fellows. This model improves the learning experience by increasing connectivity and engagement between residents, fellows, and faculty physicians.
MHE: Why did you choose your profession?
Freese Decker: I saw a need to remove barriers, make access easier for everyone, and positively impact the community’s health for generations to come. A consumer partnership focus is fundamental to my leadership strategy as evidenced by our health system’s new digital tools—MyHealth patient portal and MedNow telemedicine tool, which help more than 500,000 consumers every year.
MHE: What has been your biggest learning experience?
Freese Decker: The speed at which our industry is changing forced me to realize that we needed to lead rather than follow; to be innovative and create new solutions rather than be reactive. We must push the boundaries and conceive of new ways to provide care and coverage. As a result, we are collaborating with new and different partners such as major retailers and genetic wellness researchers. We have also developed new care models, such as community health workers who visit patients in their homes to assist them with health needs.
MHE: What change would you like to see in healthcare in the next 10 years?
Freese Decker: I would like to see health systems be aligned with keeping people healthy and reducing the total cost of care. This will require innovative business models, a focus on delighting and engaging with consumers, and new payment models that reward health and wellness through prediction and prevention.
MHE: If you could sit down to dinner with anyone involved in healthcare, who would it be?
Freese Decker: I would prefer to meet someone outside of the industry for a different perspective: Alan Mulally, former president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, who brought it back from the brink of bankruptcy. He transformed the company to think and work differently. Healthcare is being disrupted by new entrants to the industry. To be successful as an incumbent, we need to understand how others improved and embraced ideas. We must take our legacy systems and culture and reshape them into a 21st century, consumer-first organization.