Episode #70: How Geisinger Health is Transforming Healthcare through Innovation – with Karen Murphy

For decades, Geisinger Health has been one of the most innovative healthcare systems in the world. It’s efforts are not only admired but also emulated and replicated throughout healthcare systems across the country. It is a literal mecca for healthcare leaders to come visit and learn. I’ve had the good fortune of visiting Geisinger at least four or five times over the past few years, and I will tell you that the initiatives, accomplishments and outcomes become more fascinating with each visit.

In this interview, we have the great fortune of learning from Dr. Karen Murphy, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Geisinger. Karen brings a tremendous business, policy and innovation background to this role. Before joining Geisinger, she served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health addressing the most significant health issues facing the state, including the opioid epidemic. Dr. Murphy previously served as Director of the ‘State Innovation Models Initiative’ at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services leading a $990 million CMS investment designed to accelerate health care innovation across the United States. Dr. Murphy earned her MBA from Marywood University; her doctorate in business administration from Temple University Fox School of Business; and she also holds a diploma in nursing from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing.

In this interview you’ll hear Karen’s take on:

  • How Geisinger has defined ‘innovation’, and the significant resources they’ve put into their innovation efforts.
  • The “4 pillars of Innovation” at Geisinger Health, and the specific initiatives within these pillars – including the virtual “Chronic Disease Management Command Center” and their highly successful “Hospital at Home” program.
  • How Geisinger is using artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics to proactively prevent disease.
  • Why and how Geisginer is making heavy investments in Behavioral Economics and Behavior Change technologies.
  • What Karen believes to be two of the most significant challenges to innovation in healthcare.

There are few healthcare organizations across the country that have the long, broad and brilliant track record of healthcare delivery innovation synonymous with Geisinger.  It’s a legacy that is a direct function of the visionary, patient-centered leadership they’ve had – beginning with Dr. Glenn Steele, then Dr. David Feinberg and now Dr. Jaewon Ryu. In this interview Karen Murphy gives us a vivid and comprehensive picture of the innovation landscape at Geisinger. She’s keen to point out that innovation is embedded in the DNA of the organization and exists well beyond the boundaries of the Steele Institute that she leads.  

There are numerous lessons to be gleaned from this highly informative dialogue. Karen outlines a highly strategic and practical approach to large-system innovation. In the last few minutes of the interview Karen makes a strong case for why “accelerated innovation” is critical to healthcare these days. She reminds us, first, of the unsustainable costs of our current healthcare system. But she then also points out that while payment reform is critically important, without the advanced clinical models that can deliver value-based care, payment reform and other policy changes will not create the positive outcomes we’re all looking for – from the provider perspective, the payer perspective, and most importantly the patient perspective.  

Until Next Time, Be Well.