Is Less Care the Key to Value Health Care?

Is Less Care the Key to Value Health Care?

The search for value healthcare is taking a new turn as Blue Cross Blue Shields of Massachusetts forces hospitals to realign their strategies from a focus on efficiency to one on patient outcomes.

As the largest payer in the state, BCBS is incentivizing hospitals to keep patients out of hospital beds. The future of this pilot program at South Shore Hospital is still uncertain, but it looks promising.


Video Spotlight: Value-Driven Outcomes: A program to reduce hospital costs


This post is based on the Boston Globe article, Blue Cross Wants To Reward Hospitals – For Keeping Patients Out of Hospitals, by P. Dayal McClusky, October 29, 2018, and the KSAT video, Value-Driven Outcomes: A program to reduce hospital costs, by Ivanhoe Newswire, January 27. 2017. Image source: Comstock/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. How is the new program supposed to bring more value to the patient?

Guidance: According to Michael Porter (2013, p. 52), value is “health outcomes achieved that matter to patients relative to the cost of achieving those outcomes.” To insured patients, the monetary costs include premiums, deductibles, and co-payments. Hospital cost increases are transferred to patients through higher premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses. As Continue reading

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Packing Light Is More Science Than Art

Packing Light Is More Science Than Art

Do you love traveling but hate carrying luggage? There might be a new product that is just right for you. Unbound Merino is a line of travel clothes (t-shirts, hoodies, underwear, and socks) that can be worn for days, even weeks without washing.

Sound far-fetched? Apparently, the merino wool apparel claimed to repel odor and sweat is very popular among Silicon Valley professionals.


Video Spotlight: The Unbound Merino Compact Travel Hoodie


This post is based on the Forbes article, This Travel Clothing Brand Cofounder Can Go Anywhere in the World with Just One Backpack, by S. Dundas, October 31, 2018, and the YouTube video, The Unbound Merino Compact Travel Hoodie, by Unbound Merino, April 24, 2018 Image source: Gregory Kramer/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. What external factors created opportunities for the development of this clothing line? Do you foresee external threats in the near future?

Guidance: Review the external factors typically involved in a SWOT analysis. A strong economy (the clothes are rather pricey), existing technology in product components and processes, a lack of competition in everyday merino wool clothing, and growth in international travel created opportunities for Unbound Merino’s business.

The most Continue reading

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The Skinny on Lean: It’s Everyone’s Job

The Skinny on Lean: It’s Everyone’s Job

In lean, every effort toward producing more value to the customer counts. Although the appeal of lean is almost universal, its benefits are not necessarily so. Usually, the culprit is a lack of discipline in sustaining continuous improvements. As time passes, old improvements lose their effectiveness.

New ideas must continuously emerge to maintain productivity growth and keep people’s engagement alive in rapidly changing environments.


Video Spotlight:Kaizen Lean Process Improvement


This post is based on the NY Times article, Here’s the Skinny: For Lean Production Processes to Work, a Company Needs to Be All In, by E. Rosen, October 11, 2018, and the YouTube video, Kaizen Lean Process Improvement, by Sheridan Healthcare, September 10, 2013 Image source: (c) Creatas/PunchStock.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the lean characteristics mentioned in the article? Provide examples.

Guidance: Characteristics include waste reduction (e.g., value analysis: no cover required, reducing non-value-added time with trash can attached to chair, smoothing work flow at Ace Metal); continuous improvement (e.g. continuing to reduce non-value-added time with more revisions to process improvement); lean culture (e.g. getting everyone involved at Watlow), use of cross-functional teams (e.g. problem at Lantech when changes are Continue reading

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