Healthcare Fellows discuss healthcare provider; innovation

By Sally McMahon

The class of 2021 Healthcare Fellows met virtually in March for the second session which focused on healthcare providers (physicians and hospitals).

The Healthcare Fellows is a formal executive education program focused on the many business sectors in Louisville’s vast healthcare ecosystem. Created in 2005 by the Health Enterprises Network, Fellows are challenged to grow in their leadership capacity, increase their health-related knowledge, and expand their professional reach through monthly sessions with community leaders, academics, elected officials, organizational experts, researchers and entrepreneurs.

Monalisa Tailor, MD, president of Greater Louisville Medical Society, discussed how the role of the physician has evolved over the years from physicians in independent practices with stand-alone offices to physician practices being consolidated and affiliated with large health systems. Tailor said, “Because of this consolidation, physicians have to mindful of where patients are sent within the system and try to connect patients with the most appropriate specialist.”

Another evolution is how patients and other providers view physicians. Tailor said, “In 1950s physicians were esteemed, making all the decisions, in a more paternalistic model of medicine.” Tailor said that things have changed and now in medical school they teach medical students to adopt a team approach. Other healthcare providers, such as nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and therapists, form a cohesive team working together to improve patient care.

Tom Miller, CEO of UofL Health discussed the role of hospitals. Miller said, “The role of any health system is to improve the health of every community served with every decision focused on the patient.” As for where UofL Health fits into the local healthcare ecosystem, they are a hospital first, but have transitioned in the last five years to outpatient care. Miller said, “Most of our revenues are outpatient today. Innovations in surgery helped with taking care of patients in the least invasive location.”

As for his role as CEO of the hospital, Miller said that he focuses on “delivering the best quality of patient care and having a satisfied consumer.” Other responsibilities include monitoring fiscal health and stability of the hospital, promoting quality of healthcare, finding growth, taking on appropriate risk (acquisition of KentuckyOne Health), managing regulatory changes (covid, Medicaid expansion), and pursuing innovation (minimally invasive surgery, robotics, cancer care).

Session Three

Session three, also held virtually, explored healthcare innovation. Presenters included Ben Reno-Weber, deputy director for Future Knowledge at University Research and Innovation; Sheri Rose, CEO of the Thrive Center; Alice Shade, CEO and president at 4 A Ventures; and Kwane Watson, founder and CEO of Kare Mobile.

Ben Reno-Weber knows a bit about strategic planning. He has been involved with three strategic planning efforts in the past few years, including Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), the University of Louisville and the Brookings Institution. Reno-Weber said, “The three organizations came to similar conclusions–radical change is necessary.” These organizations quickly realized they would be left behind by peers making smarter investments. All three organizations identified the healthcare space, specifically aging care, as the greatest opportunity.

Reno-Weber encouraged the Healthcare Fellows to “embrace the possibility of change, even if that change is scary. Be okay with failing if it gets us to a place where we can succeed.” He recognized the value of personal networks and programs such as the Healthcare Fellows, “We need to leverage the density of our connections, really supporting one another.” Reno-Weber continued, “Inside your organization, you don’t have to be the most innovative person, but if you can support the innovations that are already happening, that is good.”

Sherry Rose, CEO of Thrive Center, discussed the why of innovation. Rose said we must consider the why of innovation, and focus on the costs of healthcare, for example, falls. Rose said, “We focus on falls because it leads to a rapid decline of our aging adults. We spend 50 million dollars per year around falls. There are three million falls in the U.S with about 840,000 hospitalized each year.” Many go unreported because seniors fear a loss of independence.

Alice Shade is the founder, CEO and president of 4 A Ventures, a company that supports and advises healthcare and early-stage companies. Shade serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville, helping researchers and faculty members commercialize discoveries.

Shade described her role at UofL as one who helps researchers, who do not necessarily know about financials, discover who will pay for new innovations and what the financial path looks like. Shade connects researchers with industries or interested partners in Louisville who can commercialize the technology.

Kwane Watson, DDS, is founder and CEO of Kare Mobile, a mobile dental platform that provides comprehensive, concierge dental services. Watson has been a dentist for over 20 years and started Kare Mobile three years ago to address lack of access to oral healthcare in urban and rural communities. This lack of access was due to lower reimbursement and a lower number of providers.

The next Healthcare Fellows session in June explores healthcare headquarters in our region. A Fellows Journal Club, discussing innovations that will change healthcare, was in early May.

Healthcare Fellow Shane Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer at UofL Health – Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, wraps up the session: