What health care execs can learn from Billy Beane


“We are in the midst of a generational business model transformation. It takes a strong man or woman to stand up in front of an organization and say we are going in a different direction.”

Health care consultant Ted Schwab, formerly of Oliver Wyman, is quoted in the Optum eBook Moneyball, emphasizing the importance of strong leadership during industry changes.

The eBook compares baseball’s sabermetrics evolution to healthcare’s data-driven transition from volume to value-based care.

For baseball, the Oakland A’s Billy Beane led the charge. He was determined to focus analytics, even though the idea was belittled both inside and outside of the A’s organization.

Any transformation in health care will demand similar determination from those in leadership roles.

“You need to have the commitment of leadership, both administrative leadership, clinical leadership to begin this journey,” says Greg Kile, senior vice president for insurance and payer strategies at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.

Lehigh Valley formed an accountable care organization and was selected as a Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO in 2015.

“If the commitment isn’t there then you’re going to have some challenges because there’s always going to be naysayers,” says Kile. “But at the end of the day if we’re able to share what we can accomplish based on our investments and based on the direction that we’re going I think that it’s a win for all.”

The approach can’t be solely top down. Health systems also need to cultivate bottom-up cultural change.

You may consider forming a steering committee to engage staff members from disciplines spanning areas that are critical to success.

Read about how a health system used this leadership technique in the Playbook: Maximize the value of hypertension population management programs with advanced analytics 

Kile talks more about lessons learned through Lehigh Valley’s transition to value-based care in the latest #5in5 episode. He answers five questions in five minutes on managing financial growth and rethinking the way health systems identify opportunities. Click here to watch.


About the Author:

Leslie Cozatt currently serves as director of Marketing, Optum Provider – Thought Leadership and Content Strategy. She directs the development of content that spotlights the role of data analytics in healthcare – specifically the transition to value-based care, risk management and population health management. She brings to her role more than 20 years of experience developing B2Leslie CozattB and B2C integrated marketing campaigns for companies including ThreeWire, Eliance and 3M. Leslie attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from Wellington College with a BS in international business & communication

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