AVIA expert spotlight: Sarah Carroll, Director, Center for Care Transformation
At AVIA, we’re proud to work alongside healthcare’s top thought leaders in digital transformation. We sat down with Scott Simeone, Vice President of AVIA’s Consulting team, to learn about digital challenges, trends, and what he loves about his work.
I’m one of the leaders of AVIA’s Consulting team. We work with both AVIA Members and non-Members to resolve a broad range of strategic questions related to digital. Consulting can give prospective Members a flavor for many of the things AVIA has to offer, as well as augment current Members’ digital work.
What brought me to AVIA was a combination of frustration and inspiration. I worked in strategic consulting capacities with both payers and providers, and saw underwhelming results. I felt like digital, or at least the addition of digital to other strategic transformations, may drive more meaningful change.
In past roles, I was often supporting the development of aspirational five- and 10-year strategies where digital was represented as a generic ‘enabler’ of strategy. The pervasive opinion of healthcare leaders was that digital would be important, but with no real definition of why or specifically how.
Joining AVIA presented an opportunity to give me the depth I needed to understand how impactful digital can be, as well as access to the experts, intelligence, and frameworks needed to build substantive digital transformation strategies in partnership with some of the leading health systems in the country.
Most of the conversations I find myself in today are focused on how to think about digital beyond a specific (and often siloed) strategy. A lot of our team’s work over the past several years has been narrowly focused, often on a single challenge, pain point, or strategy, like how do we drive growth through a digital front door? How can we improve the patient financial journey? These are all important questions to ask, but health system leaders are now rightly asking “how do we integrate digital across the enterprise and drive impact and value from digital at scale?”
In close tandem, our Members and consulting clients are increasingly recognizing that digital transformation requires significant changes to governance, structure, management processes, metrics, and incentives, as well as to culture. Digital transformation is challenging health systems’ historical success formulas, including conventional structures, care models, reimbursement, incentives, and how they compensate their providers. The list goes on and on, and there are rarely ‘quick fixes’ to these questions.
It’s exciting not only to see this shift in thinking, but be able to partner so closely with our Membership and consulting clients in the development of plans and identification of criteria for their future success.
I’m most excited to see all of the ways health systems are thinking about digital as a mechanism for competing in new ways, whether through improving access, differentiating performance in value- and risk-based arrangements, or through the development of new, innovative business models to deliver care or offer health products and services to consumers, employers, payers, and other partners. I enjoy seeing health systems looking beyond the four walls of a hospital to define what health means in the home, schools, and community, with commensurate investment in digital to support these shifts.
I remain curious to see how health systems do – or do not – embrace big tech and retail entities as likely partners in health. Currently, I hear a lot about the threat of Amazon, Walmart, CVS, and other big retailers. While these companies – and hundreds of other digital and non-digital disruptive entities – have set a high bar for experience, it’s highly unlikely any will ever compete across the entire care continuum, leaving health systems well-positioned as competitive incumbents.
I also find the explosive growth of digital therapeutics, devices, and apps fascinating. The sheer scale of investment in digital health over the past year is mind blowing, and I’m curious, and perhaps even a little pessimistic, to see how the trend plays out. I wonder at what point we’ll begin to see diminishing returns, and hopeful for the emergence of truly leading offerings that drive meaningful impact.
I love the diversity of work, and the ability to apply critical thinking and curiosity to extremely complex problems. What I’ve particularly enjoyed about AVIA is that we’re not just touching one element of the organization; instead, our work spans across all aspects of the organization and multiple stakeholders, because digital touches all these areas. Having the ability to engage at that level has been very enjoyable.
It may sound cliche, but having worked at a number of different consulting firms, I truly believe AVIA consultants and experts uniquely position ourselves as partners to our Members and clients, with a stake in their success. This means that there are times that I’m actively iterating and collaborating on a draft document with executive leaders instead of bringing forward a polished set of slides that doesn’t impart ownership and accountability for what’s on the page. It’s in that iterative process and collaborative mentality that we are able to effectively translate strategy into action.
Additionally, AVIA’s ability to go so deep in so many areas is invaluable. We may be tasked to develop an enterprise digital strategy, but our Members know (and trust) in our ability to connect our work to the reality of their day-to-day.
I would remind myself of the importance of patience. As I’ve gone through my career, I’ve always looked, impatiently, to what the fix is going to be and why the industry can’t (or won’t) move more rapidly to the seemingly obvious resolution. Healthcare moves at a glacial pace, so I would coach patience and recognition of how big healthcare truly is and how much intention and effort it takes to make transformative changes.
If you’re interested in learning more about Scott’s work in the Consulting team and how AVIA can help you reach your digital goals, contact us today.