Consumer connection: Jack LeFort aligns CRM with CDHC to improve service and strengthen loyalty and retention

December 1, 2006

Conventional wisdom says that to introduce real change, you need to bring in someone from outside. Jack LeFort, CEO and founder of Connextions Health, a company in the emerging field of consumer-directed healthcare (CDHC), has brought a similar paradigm shift to healthcare from the outside.

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM says that to introduce real change, you need to bring in someone from outside. Jack LeFort, CEO and founder of Connextions Health, a company in the emerging field of consumer-directed healthcare (CDHC), has brought a similar paradigm shift to healthcare from the outside.

Prior to founding Connextions, LeFort ran Philadelphia-based InterSpace, one of the nation's largest commercial interior architectural firms. InterSpace completed projects for well-known organizations such as DaimlerChrysler and The World Bank, as well as the federal government. During his tenure at InterSpace, LeFort came to appreciate the importance of delivering tangible business value to clients, rather than supplying services that could be easily replicated by competitors. He learned how to build long-term working relationships by treating clients as "partners" rather than customers. This partnership approach has become Connextions' calling card. "That approach, supported by the customer-centric disciplines we've built, are why we think we have an advantage in not coming from the depth and historical background of the healthcare industry, where CRM is just beginning to be understood and applied," LeFort says. "We began with our CRM expertise, then combined it with leading clinical and decision-support technologies, and recruited a team of highly skilled healthcare professionals. We have no pre-conceived notions of how healthcare should be delivered."

A All healthcare industry participants are attempting to figure out if CDHC is just a passing fad, or truly represents the future of healthcare. No one has the answer to that question right now, but this uncertain environment demands flexibility, innovation, speed and a high degree of courage. Our own business focus is not yet directly on consumers, but rather on enabling industry insurers, providers and employers to gain traction in this rapidly evolving movement.

Q How does the concept of CRM fit in to CDHC?

A Healthcare delivery will adopt many characteristics of CRM that have proven to be successful in other industries for decades. In healthcare, we believe CRM will work best as a member/patient retention strategy.

Q Describe the paradigm shift in healthcare.

A The CDHC movement is the catalyst for a healthcare paradigm shift of a magnitude not seen since the introduction of Medicare in the 1960s. A host of factors-including the skyrocketing cost of care, emergence of the Internet, aging of the boomer generation-are all driving significant pressure to the traditional healthcare supply chain, and as a result, the industry's institutional roles, economics, politics and delivery platforms will all change. New industry participants also will emerge.