What Healthcare Executives Can Learn from Amazon’s Leadership Principles

June 22, 2018

Cambia Health Solutions’ Laurent Rotival, MS, reveals what can happen when Amazon’s principles muscle in on the traditional healthcare model.

Amazon’s leadership principles can serve as a “roadmap and catalyst for what needs to change in healthcare.”

That’s according to Laurent Rotival, MS, senior vice president of technology solutions and chief information officer at Cambia Health Solutions, who presented the session, “Bringing Amazon-style Innovation to Health Care,” at AHIP’s Institute and Expo 2018 in San Diego on June 22.

Rotival recently spoke to Managed HealthcareExecutive (MHE) about the impact Amazon could have on the industry, and what healthcare leaders should learn from the company. 

MHE: It would be nice to “Amazon Prime” healthcare services, but transformation takes a lot in healthcare. What do you hope to share in this session?

Rotival: Our industry’s future hinges on our ability to break from the traditional model and shed the complexity that goes with it. Embracing retail entrepreneurial best practices, innovation, and industry domain opens up the possibility of a future where individuals and their families can experience high-quality care at a more affordable cost.

We must change the way we look at industry transformation and be singularly focused on the consumer and their lifetime healthcare journey-from birth through end of life. Most of our peers view the consumer as a patient, member, or employee-that thinking will lead us to repeating past mistakes.

If you consider Amazon’s leadership principles (“The Amazon Way,” by John Rossman, an executive at Amazon in the early 2000s), they can serve as a roadmap and catalyst for what needs to change in healthcare. These are the ones that resonate most with me and where we’re focused at Cambia-customer obsession, invent and simplify, think big, earn trust and deliver results. I believe that by keeping these principles top of mind and in practice, we will achieve real change in the future and be able to approach challenges in a more creative way.

MHE: Many healthcare leaders respond to the suggestion that the industry adopt retail and hospitality driven practices in healthcare by saying that they would not apply to the needs and function of healthcare delivery. What would Amazon-style operations bring to healthcare?

Rotival: As I touched on earlier, some of Amazon’s principles will help drive us forward and serve as a catalyst to transform the industry for the better. For example, if we get this right, we can expect the same accelerating effect Jeff Bezos described for Amazon in his flywheel model. I believe the time is now and belongs to those who can visualize a different kind of healthcare experience, build an innovative team fueled by creativity, vision, and relentless execution.

MHE: Saying things need to change is easy. Making it happen is more difficult. Do you have any specific recommendations for change?

Rotival: Consumers are bearing the brunt of our broken system. They’re overwhelmed with information and decision making, a fragmented ecosystem and need more help navigating the system. The current consumer experience when they engage is often impersonal and they don’t know who to trust.

Innovation starts with empathy and compassion for the consumer-technology, data sciences, and machine learning will enable us to understand people and their needs. This won’t replace human interaction but rather augment our current model to provide better care and personalized solutions.

We need to start over. You can’t transform the consumer experience using our current infrastructure. Borrowing from other industry innovators such as Amazon, Netflix, and Airbnb, we can serve up cloud-based, microservice architectures that are designed specifically to engage people with personal interactions, are infinitely scalable, and solidly built on the highest standards of privacy, security, and trust.

Finally, these solutions are powered by an individual’s data-everyone should have a right to access their lifetime clinical, financial and personal history wherever that data resides-our industry must adopt and accelerate the deployment of Open APIs allowing consumers to access their data when they want it and to empower third parties to manage that data and innovate on their behalf.

MHE:What are the biggest challenges to making these changes? What do you hope attendees will take away from your session?

Rotival: Our industry has no shortage of innovative point solutions and digital infrastructure. Sadly, they all have one thing in common: they weren’t designed around the consumer’s lifetime journey and all suffer from low engagement. A fundamental shift in our approach is required if we are to truly serve people and their families. Status quo won’t cut it.