Thought Partnering to Success in Healthcare
Episode 383

Jim Trounson, President at JimTrounson

Thought Partnering to Success in Healthcare

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Thought Partnering to Success in Healthcare

Episode 383

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Thought Partnering to Success in Healthcare with Jim Trounson, President at JimTrounson | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix

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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. Today I have the honor of having a Jim Trounson on the podcast. He’s the owner of Jim Trounson Consulting. His firm exists to maximize the health of individuals by partnering with healthcare leaders to take their organizations to a higher level of enhancing the patients and the clinicians experience and also improving the health of a group of patients while lowering costs. In 2018 he sold Medical Management also known as MedMan after 41 years to a great team of managers who are taking it to new levels. Its concept brought Jim to life as America’s first physician practice management company. MedMan is a large connected network of medical groups managed by MedMan employed administrators and sharing resources, improving the lives of providers and improving the health of communities they serve. He did a lot of work there, developed a great business and now is looking for ways to help other business leaders in healthcare make an impact. So really excited to dive into the work Jim is up to and some of his insights in healthcare after many years of experience. So Jim thanks so much for joining us today on the podcast.

Jim Trounson:
It’s nice to be here Saul.

Saul Marquez:
So did I leave anything out in the intro that you want to share with the folks listening?

Jim Trounson:
No. I thought that was quite complete. MedMan was a very good ride for us to I think make a difference out there and with a lot of the drive to actually improve access and I think we did that and I think the world’s a better place because of that and I’m glad that MedMan was built to last and continues to do good work.

Saul Marquez:
Now that’s really a great call out. So looking to hear some of your insights here. But before we dive into that gem I love to hear what got you into the medical sector?

Jim Trounson:
I was at college I took one of those tests that suggests what you might do for a career. And it showed that I had a interest in making the world a better place. While I also like business and said “Why don’t you be a pastor or get into healthcare administration?” So healthcare administration has been a blessing for me. I see it as a mission a way to combine these interests in business entrepreneurship and also doing some good out there. So it was an easy call for me. My first job was driving an ambulance while he was in college.

Saul Marquez:
Nice.

Jim Trounson:
And that was a good way to test this a little bit. Then I was fortunate to during the Vietnam years where I knew I was going to be in the army to be working in hospitals and clinics. So I really had a blessed life and I’m so glad that now that I’m entering this next phase of my life that there’s no need to change fields. Healthcare is a good place to be. And I think that’s such a good time to be in healthcare that I’m lucky that I could just continue to stay in this field without having to reinvent myself too much.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah super fascinating and at one point Jim, if I understand correctly, as a 25 year-old you are one of the youngest hospital CEO’s.

Jim Trounson:
The army was just such a force a time in my life to grow up fast and to give some responsibility beyond my years. And so when my military obligation was up, I was well qualified to get into the civilian world and very fortunate to get a job as a CEO at a young age like that.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now it’s fascinating. So folks the experience Jim has had is really diverse and deep across a lot of different areas but especially in healthcare. So what’s on your mind Jim, what do you think a hot topic that needs to be on every health leaders agenda is and how are you approaching that?

Jim Trounson:
I think that we as healthcare leaders often get forgetful of the impact to an individual so I’m working hard to focus my work or maybe judge it by what difference is this going to make to an individual? What are the differences between the personality type that goes into management versus the personality type that becomes a clinician like a physician or a nurse is that clinicians are very interested in one patient at a time and that’s why we love him and that’s why I think they have a strong role in designing our healthcare systems. We managers on the other hand have a propensity to get too efficient and to think about lots and lots of patients at the same time. And if we managers… we managers need to think more like clinicians and maybe it’s just a matter of where the apostrophe goes when you’re talking about working for a patient’s benefit. So clinicians will put the apostrophe before the s so it’s the patient’s benefit of a single patient. We managers tend to put the apostrophe after the s to think of the patient’s benefit as a whole bunch of folks and I think we need to think more about the individual patient’s benefit. And so I keep trying to remind myself and others as to what difference is this going to make to an individual patient.

Saul Marquez:
That’s a great insight Jim and one that we should all be thinking about on both sides of the equation. Patients with the apostrophe before an apostrophe after. So as you’ve done a lot of work, right now you’re working with a lot of different companies startups and middle of the road companies and healthcare. What would you say an example of what’s being done to make things different and better in healthcare?

Jim Trounson:
Well I certainly think it’s a wonderful time to be in healthcare and some of these ideas and the science that’s going on out there and medical robotics, bio fabrication, precision, medicine, health informatics, immunotherapies, regenerative medicine, printing vaccines, Theoretical Biology, digital therapeutics, there’s such an expanding world out there. And if we can find an intersection between that and behavior modification, we can make a lot of difference. So for example I think we’ve got the opportunity to make chronic disease optional using science and behavioral sciences to actually change an individual’s life singular and there’s more openness to disruption now patients are becoming more responsible. There’s more social entrepreneurship where we’re pointing Business Solutions making social changes. So I think that if we get imaginative about how to do this we can really make a difference out there and that’s what I’m trying to do is to help healthcare leaders imagine this and then stay with them to help them think through strategies of executions to in fact do more good out there.

Saul Marquez:
Great great point there. And so where as we think about your experience Jim over four years of experience in healthcare, tell us about a time when you had a setback or failed. What did you learn from that that has made you and maybe the company you were working with your future companies you worked with better?

Jim Trounson:
Yeah. Well I think a lot of what happens to us executive uses the sins of hubris. We start thinking that we’ve got to figure it out and then get blindsided by it.

Saul Marquez:
Yes.

Jim Trounson:
Realizing how much we didn’t know. And boy I’ve made a lot of mistakes there, just because I was so maybe a little too cocky especially when I was younger. I think that I’ve got it figured out. And so I’m certainly more humble now and appreciative of others ideas. For example I got back this weekend from New Zealand where I helped to launch a couple of new companies and we’ve got a lot to learn from folks that we may not think about in other countries. They’ve been doing a pretty good job of this. So I think we in America can take some pages out of their books and apply that to our own challenges. So to answer your question Saul I just think that I’ve learned to listen more and to be open to other ideas and not be so rigid about “okay here’s here’s the way healthcare should be run.” It’s all very local and it needs to be very flexible. And so that’s that complicates things for us managers is to not have so much of a cookbook to go from but to feel comfortable with the chaos and the uncertainty is good. And I think that’s probably my number one lesson.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. A great lesson to share Jim, appreciate you taking us to that story. Some of the ends announce that the hubris, the having it fully figured out, the now more humility. So with all of these turns and looking around the corner and the success you’ve had, what’s one of the proudest moments in leadership you’ve experienced in healthcare?

Jim Trounson:
You know just recently I was asked to be on the advisory board of a med tech startup because I think I can use some of these 50 years worth of making mistakes to help others from doing the same. So I think that the Hawaii of my life the purpose of my life is to as you said in the introduction is to make changes, improve the health of one individual. And in my perfect world I would help as a mastermind groups helping enough healthcare leaders to I think I could touch a million patients through them. And so as I’m getting some validation that will help us imagine this new service or how could we roll this out into multiple countries. There’s wonderful opportunities. And so when I’m being asked to advise some very smart well-meaning healthcare leaders that is so validating. So that’s probably my proudest moment that comes to mind Saul.

Saul Marquez:
Now Jim it’s a lot to be proud of. You know you spent all this time doing and executing and now you’re taking from those learnings and helping folks with that. You know early on before we started recording in a previous conversation, Jim and I had a chance to connect and he talked to me about the three stages. Right. The first one is about identity, figuring out who you are. The second one is about responsibility, building career businesses. And the third is about freedom. And you know Jim is at that point where he’s got the freedom and the expertise of the previous two stages to really help others that are in stage two and that really resonated with me and I thought it be worthwhile to share with the folks listening. It’s definitely important that we learn from the mistakes and the expertise of folks like Jim who have been there and done that and so love it. I think it’s a great thing to be proud of. What would you say is an exciting project or focus on that you’re working on today?

Jim Trounson:
Oh boy there’s a lot of them and I’m calling this phase, Jim Trounson 3.0 and…

Saul Marquez:
Love it.

Jim Trounson:
It’s turned out to be the most exciting, fruitful, productive phase of my life. I’m 71 years old and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m deciding that maybe retirement is a very well tested in terms of whether it’s good for us. So I’m again having a great time and you can tell by experiencing this freedom when you really can follow your passion and you have a lot of latitude as to what to do. So what I would say one of the exciting things that I’m being exposed to is the disruption of again using science to improve individuals health and as sequencing our DNA is going from 1.2 million dollars of just a few years ago down to one hundred dollars that’s going to disrupt our world in the same way that cell phones have. So there are companies that are doing wonderful things with combining that. One analysis and gut biomes now to individualized medicine so no longer do we have to treat the average patient. Then there’s no such thing as an average patient. We’re all very individualized. So now we can apply what we can find out about ones to procure particularities of one’s life to design medicines for them to design exercise programs, sleep patterns, etc. And this is going to be a lot of fun and I think that’s certainly a new frontier that I want to be helping healthcare leaders to be able to leverage.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah Jim, some great insights there and I do agree with you it’s an exciting time to be here. Very promising technologies and you know I think rather than call it retired, I’d say you’re refocused and a lot of this is true for executives that have had success in their respective fields they don’t retire. They refocus and they reapply themselves and so and it’s tremendously valuable to the individuals running companies and also society. So keep doing what you’re doing.

Jim Trounson:
Yeah well I think there’s going to be a lot of good happening out there as a result of us 80 million American baby boomers thinking about our 3.0 phases because we’re pretty healthy and maybe more energized than we thought we would be. And there’s a lot of need for us to help out, there’s significant problems in America and the world in delivering healthcare if creating access. And so I think you’ll see us doing a lot, a lot of good. I’m excited to be a part of this.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely Jim. Now up next is the lightning round so I got a couple of questions for you and we’ll follow that with a book that you recommend to the listeners. You’re ready?

Jim Trounson:
I’m ready.

Saul Marquez:
What’s the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?

Jim Trounson:
It is to focus on the individual patient and make sure that we’re focusing our work that would improve their health.

Saul Marquez:
What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Jim Trounson:
Not listen to others that have some good ideas about this like from foreign countries or other places.

Saul Marquez:
How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

Jim Trounson:
Boy, again I would say listening more than talking. I like this saying to talk less, say more. So that would be my advice there.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. What’s the in the area of focus that drives your work today?

Jim Trounson:
Finding the right intersection between the science and then figuring out how to work with the individual patient to change their behaviors. They change the social determinants of healthcare.

Saul Marquez:
And these next two are a little more on a personal note. What is your number one health habit?

Jim Trounson:
Exercise daily. He used to say I think that can certainly actually reduce your your biological age and hard to do with certainly a great benefits to that.

Saul Marquez:
Love that. And what is your number one success habit?

Jim Trounson:
To have my… I guess I call it my big why and the why of my life the primary why of my life is to work with these healthcare leaders through planning and advising, connecting, and teaching, to help them to in fact advance the quadruple aim of improving the patients and the providers experience improve the health of a population while worrying the prices. And so for me to spend the first four hours of my day turning off my cell phone, turning off my emails, and working on that during a interrupted block of time, getting that dial mood and then to do all the other things I’d found myself doing before Saul was doing all the other things. And if there’s a thing left over to work on my eye one thing you know the priority in my life it was totally upside down. And since I’ve modified this to do that first and to protect that time to make an appointment with myself to do that I become much more impactful.

Saul Marquez:
Great great piece of advice there and I appreciate you sharing that. Absolutely agree with you Jim. It’s a great habit. And folks one to consider for your daily practice. And so again folks you can find all of the show notes the full transcript as well as the short notes and the lightning round that we just did, go to outcomesrocket/health and type in the search bar Jim Trounson. But you could also go to Jim’s website. It’s jimtrounson.com where you could learn more about him and the things that he’s up to. So Jim this has been a ton of fun. I really appreciate you sharing your insights and your passion for healthcare. Leave us with the closing thought and the best place of the listeners to get in touch if they want to continue the conversation.

Jim Trounson:
You bet. Well like the name of your podcast suggests Saul outcomes rocket. So let’s think more about outcomes that inputs and is we’re moving our health care system from volume to value. I think what you’re doing is so germane. So I want to keep myself focused on outcomes instead of the inputs. And yes we’d like to connect with everybody who can have enough friends in healthcare. And so my website is jimtrounson.com and my company is only me. So it’s Jim at jimtrounson.com. We’d love to hear from anybody.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding Jim. Really appreciate your time today and definitely looking forward to staying in touch. Thanks again.

Jim Trounson:
Thank you Saul.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration, and so much more.

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