Episode 96: ‘How COVID-19 is Reframing Healthcare in America’ with Kevan Mabbutt, Chief Consumer Officer at Intermountain Healthcare

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

On Friday March 27th 2020, I launched a limited podcast series addressing how the COVID-19 pandemic is reframing American healthcare.  You can find the introductory episode here.  In this series, I am interviewing future-facing, courageous healthcare leaders and entrepreneurs – asking two questions:

(1) How is the COVID-19 pandemic immediately changing the way you are delivering healthcare?   (2) How will COVID-19 reframe American healthcare for years to come?

Our focus this week will be on the rapid transition, or perhaps immersion, of healthcare into a consumer-centric era.  There are very few people I can think of who have a better understanding of this topic than our guest this week.  Kevan Mabbutt is the Senior Vice President and Chief Consumer Officer at Intermountain Healthcare. Kevan has over 2 decades of experience in consumerism. Prior to joining Intermountain in 2017, he was at The Walt Disney Company, where he served as the Global Head of Consumer Insight.  At Disney, Kevan was responsible for leading large international ventures such as the establishment of the first Disney theme park in mainland China.  He brings world-class, product and service-leading consumer experience to healthcare.  I’ve had the great fortune of speaking with and interviewing Kevan numerous times over the past couple of years. If you haven’t had a chance to hear those interviews, I would urge you to listen to Episodes #45 and #52 on the ‘Creating a New Healthcare’ podcast.

In this interview, we’ll cover a number of topics including:

  • Why Kevan believes that consumers are now more in the driver’s seat than they were prior to COVID-19.
  • The increased possibility of healthcare systems being disintermediated in the post-COVID era – by lower cost, more convenient competitors and new entrants.
  • The two-fold strategy that Intermountain is taking to accelerate its consumer positioning and combat disintermediation – which includes leveraging its “holistic, end-to-end” integrated ecosystem of care.
  • Some of the key experience attributes Kevan believes that healthcare consumers are seeking – again, catalyzed by the new healthcare experiences we’ve all been exposed to in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The three complementary and elegant modules of the ‘Digital Front Door’ that Intermountain is currently deploying – a set of consumer-centric services that well-situate Intermountain now and into the future.

Kevan’s passion and expertise in the domain of consumer experience are inspiring and catalyzing.  I have to say that each time I speak with him I am humbled not only by the depth of his knowledge and experience, but also by the core sense of empathy and humanism that drives his work and directs the strategies and tactics that he and his colleagues at Intermountain are deploying. Kevan continuously reminds us of two fundamental consumers – the patients who will have, and deserve to have, increasing consumer choice and power; and the providers and teams whom we must support in their effort to provide the best care possible.  With both sets of customers, Kevan emphasizes the need to reduce friction and create an optimal human-centered experience.  Kevan also emphasizes the need to nurture the trusting relationship between healthcare consumers, providers and integrated systems of care.

I hesitate to impose a brand on anyone, but when I think of Kevan Mabbutt, the qualities that come to mind include: generous, thoughtful, balanced, humble, empathetic, data-informed, outcomes-driven, tech-enabled, and consumer-obsessed.  The one quality that stands out the most for me is Kevan’s deep sense of empathy, and his clear intention and track record of operationalizing humanism into the daily experience for patients and providers.  These are qualities that the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us are important and essential to each and every one of us.  These are, in my opinion, the qualities and branding that should be adopted by our healthcare system at large as we, hopefully, enter a time of COVID-19 recovery.

Until next time, be safe and be well.

Zeev Neuwirth, MD