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Higher Quality, Lower Cost, Superb Experience

Guest post by Glenn D. Steele and David Feinberg, co-authors of ProvenCare: How to Deliver Value-Based Healthcare the Geisinger Way.

In nearly five decades of health system leadership, we’ve seen it all – the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960’s, the “Hillary care” debates of the 1990’s, and the adoption of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. And today, amidst a turbulent political and cost-pressure landscape, healthcare, as it nears 20% of the GDP, is in everyone’s full view.

Getting better outcomes at lower costs through care reengineering is at the heart of our professional interests. Under our leadership, innovations in healthcare manifested at Geisinger and exported through xG Health Solutions (xG), have proven to yield the success many yearn for. That way, the Geisinger way of how to deliver value-based healthcare, is ProvenCare.

Cultivating the Perfect Petri Dish

So why Geisinger, and now xG? At Geisinger, we had the insurance and provider components in the same fiduciary structure committed to working together to analyze total cost of care for their mutually shared populations, and a relationship between cost of care and quality outcome was established. This was not an easy task. It required buy-in from stakeholders across the aforementioned continuum, some of whom had varying interests, at times.

But a committed leadership team at Geisinger, responsible for imploring these principles through practice transformation, remained steadfast at disseminating the values and requirements to nurses, physicians, vendors, and patients – and everyone and anyone else who touched this ecosystem. And, through a stable “generational” population in the middle Pennsylvania region, we were able to test, re-test, standardize, operationalize, and create an ideal environment for producing demonstrable results. And now, through xG, these proven, value-based solutions have been scaled and generalized for providers, insurers, employers, and are available in leading EMR’s.

Moving Beyond the Bedside

Geisinger has become one of the most scientifically advanced and innovative healthcare organizations in America. But we also know that to be the best, an organization must care the best. Caring has been at the center of all our reengineering and innovation and will be more important than ever, given the fundamental change in the relationship between doctors, patients, and caregivers. That means looking at ways of improving the entire patient and caregiving experience, inside and outside of our hospital and clinic walls. We’ve now adopted many of our proven methodologies in the clinical setting and are incorporating them into a leading patient experience. Through ProvenExperience, it is imperative to understand and respond effectively to patient and family satisfaction, and success will depend on effectively communicating how working together can create better health for our society.

Despite policy reforms, shifts in economic pressures, and the splitting junctions between payers, providers, and patients, the fundamentals of delivering high-quality care at lower costs have not changed. Unlocking value by changing how healthcare is provided and consumed is the only serious way to improve access and quality while lowering cost.

Glenn D. Steele, Jr., MD, PhD is chairman of xG Health, an independent venture launched by Geisinger to enable healthcare organizations create value and improve quality, and former Geisinger president and CEO (2001-2015). He serves on numerous boards and national committees, including vice chair of the Health Transformation Alliance.

David Feinberg, MD, MBA is president and chief executive officer of Geisinger, one of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations which includes 13 hospital campuses and a nearly 600,000-member health plan. He is a well-known national speaker, author of numerous articles and practicing psychiatrist.

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