Mike Leavitt, Glenn Steele Guide Healthcare Through Storm

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Gov. Mike Leavitt, former head of Health and Human Services, will share his insight and experience during the Healthcare Analytics Summit, Sept. 24-25.

Gov. Mike Leavitt, former head of Health and Human Services, will share his insight and experience during the Healthcare Analytics Summit, Sept. 24-25.

It’s a testament to healthcare’s diversity that two amazing veterans and influential leaders – Governor Mike Leavitt and Glenn Steele, Jr., MD – could both spend their careers in healthcare but take such different paths. And I’m honored to say we’ll have both on hand to discuss the hows and the whys of what’s ahead for the industry during our Healthcare Analytics Summit in September.

Dr. Steele entered healthcare as a surgeon and has, for the past 13 years, served as CEO of Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. To say that Geisinger has been innovative in its approach under Steele’s leadership is an understatement. Their use of data to reengineer systems for care and financial improvement is just one example of how the system long ago prepared for the inevitable transformation we’re seeing today.

Steele himself commented on it in a 2010 Health Affairs article, when he outlined the initial steps Geisinger took to develop its advanced, patient-centered medical home, ProvenHealth Navigator. The organization adopted a unique approach – they focused on populations and used nurses as “general contractors” to take care of some their sickest patients. Says Steele:

What’s the secret to Geisinger’s success? Dr. Glenn Steele shares observations and advice at the Healthcare Analytics Summit.

What’s the secret to Geisinger’s success? Dr. Glenn Steele shares observations and advice at the Healthcare Analytics Summit.

… those nurses brought not only a focus on the highest-utilizing subpopulation of chronic disease patients, but they also helped to reengineer the entire practice, armed with the insurance company data and data analysis. They could say to a practice, “Let’s try to focus on some other subpopulations that we could do better with.” So you have the primary care physician who has been brought up and conditioned to deal with the individual patient, and you then add someone with a population focus to a reengineered practice, armed with insurance company plus electronic health record data.

I’ve dug into the story further and the details are pretty fascinating. And tackling care delivery by using data continues to be a mainstay of how Geisinger provides quality care. I’m looking forward to getting more of Dr. Steele’s insight during his keynote presentation, How Geisinger Uses Analytics to Transform Healthcare.

On the other hand, Governor Mike Leavitt, who earned that title as governor of Utah and also served as administrator of the EPA, never practiced medicine. He planted his feet in a different side of healthcare – the insurance industry. And over the years, Governor Leavitt developed a track record for knowing how to tackle a tough job. While his intro to the healthcare industry was at his parents’ insurance company, Mike eventually embarked on a leadership track that would see him serve three terms as governor of Utah before moving on to become EPA administrator.

But his greatest healthcare challenge may have come during his service as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mike’s team was tasked with the rollout of a new prescription drug benefit, Medicare Part D. The change was anything but simple.

Said Governor Leavitt in a 2013 commentary in the New York Times, “There were days when I thought we could crash at any moment. For several weeks, the rollout of Medicare Part D felt like a runaway train — bumpy, uncomfortable, unnerving.” But his team made it through the transformation successfully, thanks in part to their dedication to educating the people who would be affected most by the new program. “We spent 18 months devising and implementing a campaign to explain the prescription drug benefit, prepare seniors as well as partners — such as community groups, churches, pharmacies, insurance plans and state and local governments — and then sign people up.”

Still, once Part D launched, it became apparent that things weren’t going as well as hoped. So his team quickly reviewed the situation, identified their challenges, determined steps they could take to overcome them, and developed metrics that would allow them to measure their progress. In the end, their tactics worked and Part D was a success. “Premiums have remained low, the program operates well under its projected budget and 90 percent of seniors are satisfied with their plan,” wrote Leavitt.

Today, Governor Leavitt’s company, Leavitt Partners, provides states and organizations with information and advice about the healthcare industry, and are particularly recognized for their insight into future of Accountable Care. His decades of involvement with regulation and healthcare will shine through in his keynote presentation, Healthcare Reform 2.0: Anticipating What’s Next.

I am always fascinated to learn from successful leaders and am looking forward to hearing more from them in September. Governor Leavitt and Dr. Steele are just two of the speakers scheduled for the Healthcare Analytics Summit on September 24 and 25. I hope you’ll join us for all of the discussions and get an in-depth look at how analytics can enable healthcare transformation for every organization.

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