Becker's 11th Annual Meeting: 4 Questions with Scott Nygaard, Chief Operating Officer for Lee Health

Virginia Egizio - Print  | 

Scott Nygaard, MD, serves as Chief Operating Officer for Lee Health. 

On May 25th, Dr. Nygaard will give a presentation on "Exceptional Lee Performance Excellence" at Becker's Hospital Review 11th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place on May 24-26, 2021 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Dr. Nygaard's session, click here.

Question: What, from your perspective, is the biggest challenge about the future of work for hospitals, and what can they do about it? (i.e. automation, desire for more flexibility, clinician shortages, etc.)

Scott Nygaard: The biggest challenge is not to over-invest in acute care due to the cost structure and the burden of transferring this cost structure to cover the “mortgage payment” to payers (government and commercial) to cover the operating expense of this model. The pressure on operations to transition from a hospital-centric to a better model of care is complex and challenging for current health systems as they move from an FFS to a value-based model and policy still sends many mixed signals with no clearly defined path on how to fund the transformation of the US healthcare “system”. The idea that increasing competition will somehow solve this problem and still allow for safety net services to be provided to communities seems to be lost as we continue to struggle with many uninsured Americans and yet spend the most of any developed nation on healthcare as a percent of GDP. The issue is pricing in the US and that is driven by many complexities of the American delivery model.

Q: How can hospitals reconcile the need to maintain inpatient volumes with the mission to keep people healthier and out of the hospital?

SN: Build a robust ambulatory and outpatient delivery system and reconfigure the assets of systems to meet real healthcare needs. We routinely quote there is 20-30% waste in healthcare and evidence has shown we often do things because we are paid to do them, not necessarily because it is the best care for the patient.

Q: What's one lesson you learned early in your career that has helped you lead in healthcare?

SN: Advice from my father that reminds us not to be victims: “If you can’t be part of the solution do the company a favor and leave”

Q: What do you see as the most exciting opportunity in healthcare right now?

SN: Leading the transformation in a market place to be the change we say we want to see by focusing on the Right Care (based on evidence), at the Right Place and Time, at the Right Cost.

"What's one lesson you learned early in your career that has helped you lead in healthcare?
The greatest lessons I learned in healthcare were three things on my first day of medical school: “listen to your patients they will tell you what is wrong, don’t be over-enamored with technology, and give every patient something for their time of need”. More true today!

What do you see as the most exciting opportunity in healthcare right now?
With society’s obsession with technology, now is the time to harness cutting edge technology to facilitate the human interaction, not replace it.

Healthcare has had calls for disruption, innovation and transformation for years now. Do you feel we are seeing that change? Why or why not?
As the saying goes, “One person’s innovation is another person’s disruption”. Transformation may be the most over-used word in healthcare today. True transformation (dramatic change) will come from a grass roots movement (outside the corporate walls) and led by synthetical thinkers who by doing what is best for patients will find it is best for business."

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