Inspiring change and transforming care around consumer needs resounding message from day two of Optum Forum

Two influential leaders visibly moved a packed audience of nearly 1,200 executives and professionals from organizations across the health care industry with their keynote addresses.

After sharing personal stories of his background and professional experiences, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) talked about the power we have to transform not only ourselves but where we are as an industry. “What you do now determines where you end up — it is not based on where you’ve been or come from,” General Powell said. He went on to express that transformation starts with leadership, telling the audience that empowering and trusting others is critical to building an effective team. He emphasized the power of showing respect and gratitude for employees at all levels, and how this type of leadership can move organizations forward, and keep them together during difficult times.


Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, best-selling author, surgeon and Harvard professor, touched on several facets of health care, from improved technology to innovating processes of care and enhancing consumer engagement as ways to battle waste in the system.

Dr. Gawande brought up a unique dynamic of the health care system in that it has two primary customers, the clinicians and patients. He noted that ideas focusing more on the patient, including asking questions to engage patients on their care to better understand what matters to them, are leading to significant reductions in unnecessary procedures and better health outcomes— a win-win for both the provider and patient. This is especially important for patients with terminal conditions.


Members of the Optum senior leadership team and Randy Pond, executive vice president operations, processes and systems at Cisco, an Optum partner, then led the other morning general session, breaking down opportunities to transform health care around the consumer into three categories — advancing care, modernizing infrastructure and empowering consumers. Digitization of data was credited as unlocking advancements in care faster than ever before, with further dialogue around linking data across all aspects of care, specifically pharmacy, clinical and behavioral, can result in more targeted patient care, better expertise and lower costs.

The afternoon concluded the Optum Executive Forum and kicked-off the Client Forum solution breakout tracks. Check out tomorrow’s blog for highlights.


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