The April 2014 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings has an article by the Mayo Clinic CEO, John H. Noseworthy, MD, entitled, “What Is Ahead for Mayo Clinic?”.
In the article, Dr. Noseworthy outlines the Mayo Clinic’s strategic vision. Given that the Mayo Clinic is one of the top healthcare providers in the nation, their vision may be a good model for other providers to follow. Think of Mayo’s vision as a ‘best practice’ in ‘Provider Strategy.’
The article starts off with the underlying principle at Mayo that guides their vision. It is simple: The Patient Comes First. By the way, this is what I was taught on day one of medical school and what was ingrained in me in my subsequent 7 years of training.
Dr. Noseworthy then outlines three central pillars of the Mayo strategic vision:
1) Deliver Knowledge to Address Fragmented Care
What does this mean? As most people in employee benefits and healthcare recognize, healthcare is very uncoordinated among participants, leading to poor healthcare quality and high cost. In the face of Health Reform and payment reforms in Medicare, many hospital systems are consolidating vertically—by buying physician practices—and horizontally—by merging with other hospital systems.
Mayo’s strategy is different. Rather than merging and consolidating, the Mayo Clinic sounds like it is ‘licensing’ its expertise in care management, care pathways, best practices, clinical order sets, etc. to other hospital systems through what it is calling the Mayo Clinic Care Network (MCCN).
2) Create Value to Address Uneven Quality in Healthcare
The Mayo Clinic recognizes that the delivery of care as a ‘system’ is broken and manifests itself as ‘uneven quality’ and ‘excessive healthcare spending.’
In response, the Mayo Clinic has created an ‘Institute’ if you will to study this broken healthcare system called the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. In addition to ‘studying’ the broken system, the Mayo Clinic has partnered with United Healthcare’s healthcare services arm—Optum—to create ‘Optum Labs.’ Optum Labs will allow the Mayo Clinic and UHC to study quality and cost-effectiveness and begin to apply their learnings to the 85 million UHC members.
3) Fund Excellence
The Mayo Clinic will continue to perform clinical research, but will have additional research priorities in the areas of (1) individualized medicine, (2) regenerative medicine and (3) healthcare delivery (i.e. the Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery described above). What Dr. Noseworthy writes next regarding ‘funding excellence’ is intriguing:
“…we much move toward a system that funds the right behavior. Mayo Clinic strongly advocates for health care payment reform… Data on desired outcomes and cost metrics can and should be readily available so that patients [healthcare consumers], families, and payers can make informed decisions about where to seek care.”
Bravo, Dr. Noseworthy. Well put.
Now, I will pose to you the following question: What if you as an employee benefits professional could apply this strategic vision to your employee population?
In essence, you and Dr. Noseworthy have similar jobs: taking care of the health of a population with a limited budget (i.e. in a cost-effective manner).
Your underlying principle is the same as Mayo’s: The Employee/Member comes first.
Your strategic vision—a kin to Mayo’s—could be as follows:
1) Apply best practices in care coordination and clinical pathways for your employees.
2) Analyze the data of your employee population’s health—claims data, health risk assessment data, biometric screening data—and apply insights from that data in targeted programs (e.g. gaps-in-care, prevention, musculoskeletal programs, metabolic syndrome, etc.)
3) Change the way you pay providers to ‘Fund Excellence.’ That could take the more extreme form of direct contracting between employers and providers for guaranteed, bundled-payments for major elective procedures like joint replacements (a la what Walmart does) or you could ‘reward’ those providers that are already practicing high quality, coordinated, cost-effective care with more volume—i.e. steering more of your employees to these providers over other providers.
This is really an exciting time to be in employee benefits and to be a healthcare provider. I think Dr. Noseworthy’s and Mayo’s vision is spot on and can serve as a template for employers as well.
To learn how Compass helps employers and employees navigate the healthcare system to find high quality, cost-effective, high value care, click on the 5-min video below: