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What’s Your Competitive Differentiator? (03:15)

Tom Lee asks Emme Deland and Jeff Balser to describe what makes their academic medical centers —  NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, respectively — stand out from the rest. “If you’re doing the same thing as everyone else, the same way, you’re ultimately going to be competing on price, and there will be no margin and it will be very tough to pursue your mission,” he says.

Deland points to increased efficiency and a streamlined care experience. “If price is the only thing that we can do and we don’t provide better quality or better patient experience, we’re never going to compete on price. Our infrastructure is just too expensive,” says Deland. Other competitive systems in New York City have that same infrastructure, so NewYork-Presbyterian, in some respects, is competing against a costly market.

With that said, Deland hopes a few things will set her health system apart: shorter length of stays, better readmission rates, and fewer unnecessary surgeries. “I’ve been very surprised at the corporations that have developed centers of excellence and the amount of unnecessary surgery can be somewhere north of 40%,” she says.

For years, academic medical centers existed with siloed clinical, research, and training enterprises that were only loosely connected, says Balser. “Our advantage [at Vanderbilt] now lies in developing our strategy for patient care in a way that’s very service line–focused, not siloed into the traditional academic departments, but still leverages the innovation and research into those service lines,” he says.

From the NEJM Catalyst event New Risk, New Business Models held in Boston, October 6, 2016.

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