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Health Care MBA, Newsroom

Health Care UST MBA Profile: Wade Blomgren

img_blomgren_wadeWhat does it take to be a leader in health care? For Wade Blomgren, regional business manager at Roche Diagnostics, the answer lies in the ability to collaborate across all facets of the healthcare system. “In health care, there is no one right answer. At a high level, you need to understand the big picture, then find the right people to help figure out the options and get the job done. The key is collaboration – finding others who complement what you do and don’t do well.”

The collaborative environment is what drew Blomgren to the Health Care UST MBA program at St. Thomas for his continuing development. In the midst of a successful career in sales and customer service following 13 years as an army officer, he recognized that he needed to better understand the “big picture” of business and health care to be effective in the new stage of his career as a regional business manager. What better way to gain this understanding than by immersing himself in a program of health care leaders that represent the full spectrum of the industry and range from individual contributors to presidents? “The cohort structure of this program truly allows us to learn from each other and challenges us all to think differently about how to tackle the problems and opportunities facing the industry.”
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Health Care MBA, leadership, Newsroom

Healthy Minnesota: Community-Driven Initiatives

Cross-posted from High Performance Health Care

By Stephanie Hegland,  Health Care UST MBA ’12

What started as a health care policy class last spring for Health Care UST MBA students Laura Templin-Howk and Tina Morey, culminated September 28, 2012, in the Healthy Minnesota: Communities in Action Poster Session and Forum, featuring closing remarks by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin. Inspired while being in Washington D.C. during the arguments before the Supreme Court on the legality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and encouraged by the legislation’s financial support for proactive, preventive measures (Title IV, Subsection D, “Creating Healthier Communities”), Templin-Howk and Morey sought to showcase Minnesota’s trailblazing community-driven initiatives. And showcase they did, by pulling together 40 examples of why Minnesota continues to lead the nation in healthcare innovation.

Community-led projects throughout the state highlighted the work already being done to improve the health of our communities. Each poster presenter spoke to their projects’ individual mission, success and lessons learned.  View the  event program, with descriptions and contact information for each project. These projects frequently showcased partnerships between communities, healthcare providers and systems, ancillary providers, community agencies and school districts. Let’s face it; it’s not a secret that greater physical activity, eating more fruits and vegetables, regular health screenings, and increased collaboration between providers leads to improved health outcomes for the state’s population. But how to accomplish these improvements? Therein lies the challenge. And further, how will policies, systems and environmental changes be modified to sustain these improvements? Continue Reading

Centers, FTMBA, Health Care MBA, Local business, Newsroom

UST Panel Highlights: 5 Initiatives for Responding to Health Care Reform

This post, by Noi Oan, Full-time UST MBA class of 2013, is cross posted from the High Performance Health Care blog

Last month, I was excited to leave work a little early to attend the “Initiatives for Responding to Health Care Reform” event at the University of St. Thomas. It was one day before hearing the decision from the Supreme Court regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act. Curiosity and anticipation of what going to happen next was the main driver for me to come to the event.

The panel included Jim Eppel, chief operating officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN, Brian Rice, the vice president of Network and ACO Integration at Allina, and John Herman, the president of Fairview Northland Hospital and Maple Grove Medical Center. Dan McLaughlin, the director of the Center for Health and Medical Affairs, moderated the event.

Each panelist brought to the table a unique perspective about the current health care system and the necessary moves to a better future for their organization. However, one theme arose as the common ground for all panelists: the necessity of patient engagement to improve health quality and control total cost of care. Transparency of cost and quality is the essential vehicle to bring about patient engagement and it will be critical in the long-term solution, Jim Eppel emphasized. Brian Rice shared his excitement about testing and learning from patient data. By focusing on the 2-3% of the population that drove most of all health care costs, we can put more effort into engaging this population in a positive way. John Herman pointed to education as the key to patient engagement. Patients should know how to navigate the system and how to take responsibility to their own care. “Traditional episodic care treatment isn’t enough” he pressed.

In addition to hearing from the panelists, the event was designed as an interactive discussion, which fully engaged the audience. The panel shared their thoughts on three main issues before turning it over for audience discussion. The topics were chronic disease management, retail health and high deductible policies, and cost containment. Continue Reading

Health Care MBA, Newsroom

Health Care Technology Impact: Cloud Computing

As a final year student of Health Care UST MBA cohort 18, I have been challenged with in-depth knowledge regarding the current health care system and the various problems that still exist, such as the rapidly-increasing health care costs, number of uninsured individuals, questionability of the ongoing health care reform, shortage of primary care physicians, etc. The new age of increasing technological advancements, though phenomenal and advantageous, has also brought with it more complexity and problems to resolve, most especially in the health care industry.

A key part of the health care reform involves the use of technology to address a number of health issues such as access, value and cost. Hospitals, if not fully transitioned yet, are now transitioning from paper records to Electronic Medical Records (EMR), a digital and portable version of the medical records used in health care systems that allow storage, retrieval and easy modification of records. To support health reform’s goal of collecting data on providers, determining what treatments are improving outcomes, linking care to payments, determining quality measures, etc., computer support systems are being used everywhere. Increased medical knowledge has brought about more technological advancements in treatment and devices that require computer support. Increases in medical/research data has brought about the need for highly complex computer support systems to analyze and retrieve information. The increase in patient-centric care and social media popularity has also required health care systems and providers to become more technology-savvy. The cloud, social, mobile, consumer, apps, enterprise technologies and more are needed, more than ever, to support these technologies. Continue Reading

Faculty, Health Care MBA, Newsroom

Capital Investment Decisions in Health Care – Five Questions for Prof. Southard

UST’s High Performance Health Care blog recently talked with Peter Southard, Ph.D., an assistant professor of operations and supply chain management, about his research on capital investment decisions in health care.

SouthardQ: Why did you decide to examine capital investment decisions in health care?

A: Increasing competition and artificially-imposed price controls in health care are forcing caregivers to rethink how they manage their delivery systems. Health care delivery systems must be able to provide extremely high-quality care at reasonable costs. Any variation in the systems and the processes needed to deliver the health care “product” serves to increase the costs and reduce the quality of that health care. The variation does so, partly, by increasing the time needed to deliver the service. One of the primary goals of health care must be, then, to identify and reduce the root causes of variation in its processes and systems.

This need is also true in all decision making processes in which variation, or lack of a consistent framework by which to make decisions, can lead to not only inefficiencies but also costly errors that reduce the hospital’s competiveness and its ability to deliver cost-effective care. One of the decisions impacting a health care system’s cost is the make/buy decision: when to outsource a process and when to maintain the process in-house. If the decision is to “make,” then the next decision is a capital investment one. Our research looks at adapting a framework from another area of business to this decision situation. We apply a Six Sigma quality tool, the Technology Function Deployment (TFD), to develop a practical framework that hospital managers can use to make consistent and effective decisions regarding capital investments versus outsourcing. Continue Reading

Health Care MBA, leadership, Newsroom

Rural Demographics Raise Concerns About Health Care Availability

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This post is from the Spring 2012 edition of B. Magazine

There is an allure to country living. Rural residents revel in songbirds, vibrant night skies and a pace of life that rewards quiet and solitude. But like their urban brethren, when health issues arise country residents desire quality, accessibility and affordable care. Unfortunately, statistics show that compounding circumstances are giving rise to a crisis in rural health care.

A recent United Health Group study reveals that in remote areas of the United States, 18 percent of residents are now more than 65 years old, versus the 13 percent national average. Families in rural areas are disproportionately living below the federal poverty level, and people living outside of metropolitan areas have a higher rate of chronic illnesses (hypertension, diabetes, cancer and arthritis) induced, in part, by increased smoking and obesity. The grim picture? Rural residents in our country are older and sicker than urban residents.

These factors alone are enough to have a large impact on insurance coverage and availability in rural areas. To complicate matters, nearly one third of the older rural population is utilizing Medicare or Medicaid as its primary source of coverage versus one quarter of that population in urban areas. Rural Americans are more likely to be uninsured compared to city dwellers, and private insurance coverage rates in rural areas lag behind their counterparts in urban areas by 6 percent. Continue Reading

Centers, Health Care MBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Can Health Care Take Tips From the Marketer’s Playbook?

The last two days of February finally brought some long awaited (or not, depending on who you ask) snow. The snowfall didn’t stop marketing professionals in the health care industry from coming on campus for a MN AMA Healthcare SIG event focusing on the impact of health care reform for marketers.

This second in a three-part series featured a panel of health care/marketing professionals including Rich McCracken, account director at Haberman, a full-service marketing agency; Kim Wiese, vice president of marketing at Optum; and David Moen, M.D., president and CEO at Fairview Physician Associates. Daniel McLaughlin, director of the Center for Health and Medical Affairs at the Opus College of Business, moderated the panel and facilitated the conversation, which touched on the overall mind shift that is necessary in the U.S. culture, in terms of health care.

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Centers, Health Care MBA, Newsroom

Pomeroy Brings Political Perspective to UST Health Care Conference

pomeroy1As the final speaker at the 2011 UST Executive Conference on the Future of Health Care, former Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) provided a pragmatic, hard-headed assessment of the current state and likely destinations of legislative health care reform. With the Affordable Health Care for America Act working its way through the court system and curtailment or outright repeal looming as possible outcomes of next year’s election cycle, the health care market exists in a climate of uncertainty; Pomeroy’s experience on the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee gives him a unique clarity on where things are and where they’re likely to go. Continue Reading

Faculty, Newsroom

UST’s own “math genius”

SanjeevBordoloiWhen Dr. Sanjeev Bordoloi was a young boy, he was often called a “math genius” by his classmates. That may sound flattering to a group of adults, but coming from his classmates, that wasn’t necessarily a compliment, where disco dancers were more popular than geeks. It is by happy coincidence that Dr. Bordoloi shares the same birthdate as Albert Einstein.  Although his early childhood aspirations were to be a professional tennis player, it seemed his proficiency in math provided a more viable career path.

Dr. Bordoloi’s academic prowess gained him admission to some of the world’s best schools. He began at IIT Varanasi in India, where he studied engineering for his bachelor’s degree. He followed that degree with an M.B.A. from Xaviers in India and ended his studies with a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Health Care MBA, Newsroom

High Performance Health Care: Generating Good Ideas

This entry by Daniel McLaughlin is cross posted from High Performance Health Care.

Health care is reinventing itself as the playing field begins to stabilize. Although there still seems to be occasional political statements about “repeal and replace,” the practical fact is that much of the Affordable Care Act is now being implemented. Even if some aspects of the insurance expansions are changed (e.g. mandate to purchase health insurance), the system reform components appear to be “baked in.”

This new system stability has energized creative health care organizations into stretching their strategic plans and trying to inject a spirit of creativity and innovation into their organizations.  For example, Continue Reading