Intermountain CMO on putting value over volume


Shannon Phillips, MD, Intermountain Healthcare's CMO for community-based care and the president of Intermountain Medical Group, outlined her top priorities after the pandemic and how the Salt Lake City-based health system focuses on the patient experience.

The following article is based on a podcast published by Becker's Hospital Review.

Nearly 18 months after the start of the pandemic, Dr. Phillips said her first priority this year is not to lose innovations made during the pandemic. The pandemic also opened her eyes to the importance of social determinants of health. Addressing health disparities and unaffordability in care are among the most pressing issues she is working toward tackling.

"My priorities are the well-being of our healthcare professionals; our disruption of ourselves to take advantage of some of the things that COVID taught us, like the multi-channel ways we can care for people; and to continue to have the privilege to take care of more and more people in a value circumstance," she said. "And those will be much of the work and very integrated with each other."

Approximately 50 percent of the Utah health system is tied to value-based care, which means half of its contracts with payers are tied to quality measures rather than volume, Dr. Phillips said.

Intermountain is trying to balance delivering high-value care and a great consumer experience so patients and their employers choose Intermountain and its payer subsidiary, SelectHealth, to keep people healthy.

"You could argue that's at odds with hospitals," she said.

The health system's unique business model enables its value-based mission.

"I think it's an interesting time in healthcare and being part of an integrated delivery system," she said. "One that has a payer, one that has provision of services really across the continuum, and really visionary leadership. [President and CEO Marc Harrison, MD,] has made it very clear that our move is to value. I think we're set up to really be successful."

Dr. Phillips pivoted her paradigm after coming to a strong realization about the healthcare industry, she said.

"Very often in our industry, the experience of the people we serve became sort of an add-on too late," Dr. Phillips said. "It's kind of embarrassing to be in an industry where we take care of people, and the attention to the experience came kind of when it got measured by the federal government, and that was a missing link for me."

The pivot shapes how she leads as a CMO, she said. Her everyday attitude is about "innovating, catalyzing and executing on extraordinary care, caring and health," Dr. Phillips said.

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