WHCC20 | Interviews

Rebecca A. Stametz
Associate Vice President, Product Innovation, Steele Institute for Health Innovation

What is the top challenge or obstacle facing health care today?
In my role, there is a need to create products that provide an excellent consumer experience. The patients and families that we serve have options in all aspects of their lives – buying a car, e-commerce, and more. As a healthcare system it’s our job to understand what our consumers want, when they want it and how quickly they want it. Understanding their journeys through the lens of the healthcare consumer enables us to design experiences that meet the expectations of the modern-day consumer in the healthcare setting.

How are you preparing your organization for an uncertain future?

I’m in a privileged position to have a product innovation strategy in the Steele Institute for Health Innovation. We work with our providers and patients to understand how we can continue to add value to their experiences. The projects are aligned with the strategic priorities of the organization. One example is thinking about how we can become more efficient. At Geisinger, we’re tackling this through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the use of robotic process automation for administrative tasks.

We value highly skilled people from outside of the healthcare industry because they understand the experience customers expect and can work directly with our patients and the care teams within a “living lab” to make sure that what we are building is embraced. We are a design-led department, working with individuals who have a lived experience with the problem we are trying to solve and ultimately building empathy.

What is the most promising development in patient care that you have come across, and why?
There are two areas I think are progressing. The first is a focus on deeper, more substantive relationships with our patients and their families. Patients know their experience– how they are feeling, the challenges they face and their personal health journeys. I believe it’s going to become increasingly more important to capture as much information from the patient as possible outside of an office encounter. Facilitating open communication through a team-based approach and providing seamless opportunities for patients to interact with providers will be integral steps as healthcare evolves into a more consumer-focused mindset.

The second area is how we can help make health easier for everyone we serve. One way we can do that is by understanding the social determinants of health and taking care of the whole person, addressing more than their clinical needs. At Geisinger, we have programs like 65Forward, Geisinger at Home, and the Fresh Food FarmacyTM that are taking the care our patients need outside of the hospital setting and delivering it in settings that are convenient to their lifestyles. We’re already seeing promising results from these program that result in our patients achieving better overall health while avoiding burdensome emergency department or inpatient care.

What motivates you to keep doing the work that you do?
It is very rewarding and energizing to be a part of the Steele Institute which is ultimately a cross-functional, mission-oriented team focused on pushing boundaries through creative ways to think about the future of healthcare delivery. The best part is when you hear from individuals with whom you co-created during a design and development process that we’ve made a positive impact - I don’t know if there’s a better feeling.

What is your biggest goal, personal or professional, for the end of 2020?
My personal goal is to begin to practice mindfulness. From a work perspective, a challenge that we are excited to tackle is how we can reinvent the way Geisinger – and the healthcare industry in general – is thinking about chronic disease management. To that end, it would be rewarding to take some of the products that have been proven effective at Geisinger – and those still to come – and scale them outside of the organization for the betterment of the entire healthcare industry.

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