Q&A: Geisinger's CEO on Cost, Quality, Data Sharing

Philip Betbeze, June 21, 2013

Glenn Steele, MD, discusses the need for healthcare organizations to collaborate and learn from each other with shared data that can offer real-time insights as healthcare leaders re-engineer the industry to provide real value.


Glenn D. Steele Jr., MD, PhD

Some time ago, I had a wide-ranging conversation with Glenn D. Steele Jr., MD, president and CEO of Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., about the need for healthcare executives to share information as the industry transforms. Geisinger, you may remember, is a staple of the effort to change the way healthcare works, to make it more interactive, safer, and less costly.

The $2.9 billion system, which serves more than 2.6 million residents in central and northeastern Pennsylvania, has long been held up as an example of high-quality, low-cost healthcare; even the President of the United States touted the system as an ideal to which other healthcare providers should aspire. Steele himself was widely rumored to be Barack Obama's pick for CMS administrator before Donald Berwick was appointed. I spoke with Steele on a range of topics, mostly dealing with what often obstructs the goal of coordinated and less wasteful healthcare.

HealthLeaders: Are senior healthcare executives working together more than in the past to solve the big problems in healthcare?

Steele: They are but there are a number of ways to focus on this. What we do in our own system can serve as a good example. We have three very different demographics we're dealing with: the hospital, the payer, and the doctor group. We have a remarkable interaction between physician leaders and finance people and senior administrative leaders, and the key is we don't expect everyone to have expertise in every area but we expect them to combine their expertise to approach problems. … We're facing an oncoming transformation that is one of the most remarkable in 100 years. There's a growing understanding that no single template is going to work, so I'm not arguing for our specific template.

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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