Froedtert Health's Director of Enterprise Care Coordination and Redesign Dr. Erika Smith on delivering better care: 'Focus on how you are providing value'

Erika Smith, PharmD, serves as the director of enterprise care coordination and redesign at Froedtert Health, a five-hospital system in Milwaukee.

In her role, which she assumed in May 2018, Dr. Smith ensures the health system is taking steps to meet population health goals and proactively manage patients at high clinical or high financial risk.

She previously served as director of ambulatory pharmacy and care redesign and senior pharmacy manager at Froedtert.

Becker's Hospital Review asked her to discuss her proudest moments at Froedtert, the advice she would offer other organizations looking to redesign care and what she would change about healthcare overnight.

Editor's Note: Responses were edited for length and clarity.

Question: What are some of your main responsibilities as Froedtert's director of enterprise care coordination and redesign?

Dr. Erika Smith: This is a newer role for the enterprise, and it encompasses leading our enterprise care coordination team, which is a team of nurses and other staff that supports population health goals by proactively managing patients at either high clinical or high financial risk. I partner with leaders across both Froedtert Health and Medical College of Wisconsin involved in our population health strategy. I also work on behalf of our digital innovation company, Inception Health, which leads our strategy of leveraging new digital tools to transform healthcare by bringing the best innovations to our community.

Q: What has been one of your proudest moments since assuming the role?

ES:  It would be overseeing one of our population health strategies where we saw great clinical outcomes and financial impact. We are now seeing some payer partners providing financial support. This type of work was new to me and certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, I was able to learn a lot during the preparation and presentation process. Being able to evolve how we measure the success of our population-based programs so it is compelling to both health system leaders and our payer partners was really exciting.

Q: What advice would you offer other organizations looking to redesign how care is delivered?

ES: It may sound trite but I would say focus on how you are providing value to the consumer. If you can keep a steady focus on that, knowing that care redesign often involves significant change to the staff and providers, you can usually find an appropriate balance. I often think about how different the provision of healthcare is versus other industries where you hope to have a longitudinal relationship with someone. We have to be willing to think about providing care differently and in a way that maximizes patient outcomes, while keeping consumer access and affordability in mind.

Q: If you could change one thing about healthcare overnight, what would that be?
ES: I'd make healthcare delivery more transparent to consumers with regard to cost, coordination and ease of communication.

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