Peter Heywood has been part of the Crossover journey for over ten years now, helping us develop and refine our positioning as we have evolved from our original mandate and now culminating in the “Connected System of Health” vision. We invited him down to our client Bombora held on August 5-6, 2019 and I asked him to share his thoughts on the event afterward.
I was delighted when Scott asked me to attend the first ever Client Bombora in Newport Beach. A lot of the work I’ve taken on for Crossover over the years has been done remotely, so I jump at any chance to interact in person with the inspired and inspiring team at Crossover.
I’ve been to a few similar events put on by companies for their clients over the years. They’re surprising rare, as most companies seem to focus on product related features and performance launches instead of true client appreciation and relationship meetings. These are particularly meaningful to us at Crossover, as so much of the work depends on collaborator-clients to help us push boundaries, test new innovations, and not just support but rather embrace our ambitions.
The Bombora was the forum to announce the Connected System of Health (CSoH) Scott has spilled enough digital ink , including in this very blog, about the CSoH and how it will change the dynamics of the healthcare encounter, relationships and outcomes. And a more conventional company would have used the gathering of clients to announce how this new Digital First approach to care would work, probably with a series of practical sessions demonstrating how the clients would have to change contracts, payment methods, the service mix and similar, to benefit from its cost and care advantages.
But Crossover had a different approach. While most companies would talk about “how” or “what” of their new service, Crossover chose to dig into “why.” The Bombora forum was used to help employer clients absorb the changes afoot in healthcare technology and consumer behavior. It was important for them to understand that the CSoH is not a pivot into uncharted territory, but instead the next logical step in Crossover’s journey and the approach to the inevitable changes consumers (aka patients, aka members) are already demanding of healthcare (and not too successfully, so far).
Healthcare has historically been a laggard on the innovation curve. On one level its conservatism is understandable—we’re dealing with people’s lives, after all—but its inability to adapt to new technologies and societal norms is a major barrier to addressing chronic cost and outcome challenges. Their clients selected Crossover because they are “employer activists”, and they see in Crossover a catalyst for approaching care delivery and health in new ways. But even the most innovative employers sometimes need the “why” answered.
The two keynote speakers helped set the entire event in motion. Jason Hwang, MD (co-author of The Innovator’s Prescription) and Kevin Slavin, PhD (a technology and behavioral sciences polymath) presented complementary perspectives on not only the impact of change, but also its inevitability. Jason’s key point was the futility of trying to integrate new technologies and types of practice without changing the underlying business model first. As he pointed out, you have “mainframe” health systems attempting to set up distributed delivery networks without changing compensation or workflow too much, setting up conflicts between the expected experience and current compensation. Kevin took an even broader view, acknowledging that he is not a healthcare expert but as an expert in consumer behavior, he could truthfully say that healthcare is clearly broken. The main arc of Kevin’s presentation focused on Service Design, the defiantly unsexy and rigorous development of systems that enable providers to deliver on their promise to the user with as few points of friction as possible. Interesting he highlighted that the user was actually the employee and not the customer. In other words, take care of the employee first, and the customer will directly benefit.
I think this impacted the client audience greatly – and almost palpably. The great user experience is not the goal of healthcare, according to Service Design principles, simply the outcome of a great provider experience—having the right tools, training, support and time. And if you give providers the right tools, Digital Care can be just as rewarding and valuable as Physical Care.
All of this conversation about “why” provided the backdrop for, finally, the “how,” and presentations led by Scott, Rich, Nate and Jay about Episodes of Care, the “Digital First and Strategically In Person” strategy, and the evolving national network of best practices and data—in other words, the Connected System of Health. But even these more practical sessions left attendees with a clear meme, how the CSoH will give the Crossover Medical Group superpowers.the power to be proactive, to be predictive, to coordinate care beyond our four walls, and to be an even better and more capable partner.
The meeting also provided the opportunity to speak with several clients during the break-out sessions and actual breaks, and some of them felt almost as though they’d been invited into a secret society – one that’s going to surprise everyone when the secret’s out. And while they all had to return to their jobs after the meeting was over, they clearly were taken home some of the missionary zeal of the day. A little XO Pixie does goes quite a long way . . . clearly!
As Kevin pointed out, building this new model of health isn’t complicated, it’s just hard. But inspired clients will make the journey easier. And not just as mere casual observers either, but most importantly as collaborators and co-conspirators. Can’t wait to follow the progress and be in attendance next year!