Health System CEO Shares How Collaboration, Innovation Can Transform Healthcare

June 22, 2018
Rachael Zimlich, RN, BSN
Rachael Zimlich, RN, BSN

Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare Executive, and Medical Economics.

From the frontlines of healthcare, Sarah Krevans, MBA, MPH, Sutter Health, offers AHIP attendees her ideas on healthcare transformation, future outlook, and consumer empowerment.

Collaboration is the way forward as healthcare leaders try to balance meeting the needs of patients and their families while at the same time transforming an inadequate system.

That’s according to Sarah Krevans, MBA, MPH, Sutter Health president and CEO, who presented “How to Fix Healthcare: Lessons from Leaders on the Front Lines,” at the AHIP Institute and Expo 2018 in San Diego June 22. Sutter Health is a health system in Northern California.

Krevans recently discussed healthcare transformation, future outlook, and consumer empowerment with Managed Healthcare Executive (MHE).

MHE: How to fix healthcare is an issue leaders across the industry are facing as healthcare is transformed. What do you hope participants will take away from this session?

Krevans: It’s easy to focus only on all the things that need improvement in healthcare. Yet, I’m very optimistic about the future of healthcare and about the work we can do together on behalf of people across the United States. Providers, payers, public, and private entities all working together to improve and advance healthcare is more effective than one or two of our organizations working on it alone.

MHE: What are some of the lessons you can share that might spread your optimistic outlook in such a difficult time?

Krevans: All of us see the potential of healthcare’s long-term future. High-quality services that are convenient, connected, safe, and affordable. Care that’s personalized and seamless. But there’s no magic bullet that will fix the entire system.

The challenge we all face is to work simultaneously in two time horizons. We must continue to take care of the patients and families who depend on us today, while exploring and pushing for new and effective ways to transform care quality and access for tomorrow. To truly understand how to transform care, we have to look honestly at our nation’s healthcare system. Where do we spend money? Where do we waste resources? Where do we excel? And where can we improve?

Only by working together can we fundamentally change healthcare for the better-making it more efficient and affordable and improving quality. We need to look at other industries and learn from other sectors on what opportunities exist to be radically more efficient or provide dramatically more delightful service while staying committed to our service mission.

MHE:If you could give attendees marching orders-suggestions to take back to their health systems and organizations-what would those be? How do you hope your session will impact operations?

Krevans: All of us must understand healthcare through the eyes of the empowered consumer. They want our industry to become like every other aspect of their lives-less expensive, more tailored, and highly reliable. For example, if Uber or Lyft can tell me when my driver will arrive, why can’t we tell patients when their lab results will be available? At the same time, healthcare is unique-we take care of people at their most vulnerable, and sometimes they need personalized wraparound support and services. They want access to healthcare at their fingertips but with a human touch.

To achieve these expectations, providers, payers, public, and private entities must all work together to improve and advance clinical practice and the administration of healthcare. There are so many ways we can partner on improvements.

Together with community clinics we can develop and implement creative solutions that tackle major public health issues like homelessness and mental healthcare, which have enormous negative impacts on the health and well-being of those most vulnerable in our communities. We can cooperate on initiatives and policies that protect advancements in patient safety and access to healthcare. We can work transparently on programs and services that improve care before, during, and after a patient’s visit to improve quality, and make healthcare more simple, engaging, and human.

Groundbreaking solutions are out there. It will take our collective compassion, dedication and focus to bring them to our communities and make our nation’s healthcare accessible and affordable to all.