EP294: Building a Center of Excellence: A Playbook for Physician Entrepreneurs, With Steve Schutzer, MD, Physician Executive for the Orthopedic Service Line at Trinity Health of New England and Medical Director of the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institu

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Lately, several of the Relentless Health Value episodes have focused on digital health companies and their disruptive potential on referral flows of traditional provider organizations. We also talked about other goings-on with the potential to encroach on hospital systems and independent docs alike. For example, we’ve got Walmart getting, in a big way, into the health clinic business. We’ve got VillageMD and Walgreens teaming up. We’ve got mergers in the on-site clinic space. There’s just a lot of action.

But let’s talk about what Dan O’Neill called “physician entrepreneurship” in EP287. Dan said that now is a fantastic time for entrepreneurial physicians to reinvent the practice model. This is true because many, including Dr. Matt Anderson in EP292, have said that it’s not an entirely safe bet if you’re a doc right now to hope that all the practice changes initiated by COVID (like telehealth, etc) go away like a bad hangover the second this pandemic gets stuffed back into Pandora’s box.

So, there’s risk mitigation strategies at play here, but there’s also a great opportunity for those who figure out how to legitimately improve patient outcomes in a way that consumers and patients love and that employers can easily contract for. Here’s the bottom line: Some, not all, of these new-fangled deliverers of health care have great marketing and maybe a great Net Promoter Score; but effectiveness is less than well validated.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a whole lot of providers who aren’t sure what kind of results they deliver and who aren’t exactly delivering amazing and sticky customer experiences. So, we certainly can’t forget that, as Bob Matthews has said, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But what about a physician practice known in a local community that works together to create a Center of Excellence? Now, that’s interesting in this land of the blind. You get all the history and the advantage of being the “default care provider.” But you also are well poised for a post-COVID future, even in the face of all this disruptive activity.

In this health care podcast, I speak with Steve Schutzer, MD. Dr. Schutzer is a physician executive for the orthopedic service line at Trinity Health of New England and medical director of Connecticut Joint Replacement. Dr. Schutzer knows a lot about setting up a COE, otherwise known as a Center of Excellence. He knows a lot about how to be a physician entrepreneur, and he knows how to compete in emerging market conditions.

You can contact Dr. Schutzer at steve.schutzer@gmail.com.

Steven F. Schutzer, MD, graduated with honors from Union College and the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Following a surgical internship at the University of Rochester, he served as lieutenant in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy. After his tour of duty, Dr. Schutzer did his general surgical training at the University of Rochester and then completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Connecticut. He was then a fellow in adult hip and reconstructive surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, after which he entered practice with Orthopedic Associates of Hartford. He is currently on the staff of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.

Dr. Schutzer is a founding member and medical director of the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute (CJRI), a Center of Excellence at Saint Francis. He is also president of the management company overseeing the Institute, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Surgeons, LLC, as well as physician executive for the orthopedic service line at Trinity Health of New England.

In 2014, Dr. Schutzer and two colleagues, Ms. Steph Kelly and Ms. Maureen Geary, launched a consulting company, Novel Healthcare Solutions, whose mission is to establish effective and trusting business relationships between physicians and hospital partners—and then create orthopedic Centers of Excellence.

03:22 Why would competitive physician groups gang together? 07:32 “Even if you never … bundle, going through the implementation process … will yield incredible unrecognized value.” 08:49 “It demands an end-to-end care redesign process.” 10:10 “The value of a COE is really unquestionable.” 10:18 “For every dollar saved [in a COE], two-thirds was in the quality side, and one-third was in the price point.” 13:08 Slide deck discussing the definition of a COE and its seven building blocks.14:05 “I’m talking about business relationships between the physicians … these are the most fundamental [relationships].” 15:23 “It is all about trust.” 15:48 What is the most central issue as to why a COE does well or fails? 16:25 “It’s not just data. It has to be actionable data because physicians naturally don’t trust data.” 21:54 “Employers are definitely taking note to patient-reported outcomes.” 22:37 What is the seventh element that is necessary for a COE, and what is fundamental to that element? 23:27 Where will fee-for-service doctors be in 2 to 3 years? 24:45 “The only way that we can accrue the value that we deserve is through these types of relationships.” 25:11 “The supreme motivator is opportunity.” 27:01 How do physicians and providers begin a transformation of the marketplace they’re in? 27:36 “What they need from us is product. They need products to disrupt the status quo.” 30:26 “The problem is that there are vendors who are working at the margin.”

You can contact Dr. Schutzer at steve.schutzer@gmail.com.

@SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

Why would competitive physician groups gang together? @SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

“It demands an end-to-end care redesign process.” @SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

“The value of a COE is really unquestionable.” @SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

“It’s not just data. It has to be actionable data because physicians naturally don’t trust data.” @SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

“Employers are definitely taking note to patient-reported outcomes.” @SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

Where will fee-for-service doctors be in 2 to 3 years? @SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

How do physicians and providers begin a transformation of the marketplace they’re in? @SSchutzer of @THOfNewEngland discusses #centersofexcellence on this week’s #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthtech

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