Leading in Outcomes and Satisfaction with a Multi-Stakeholder Approach
Episode 493

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, Chief Quality and Innovation Officer at MEDNAX

Leading in Outcomes and Satisfaction with a Multi-Stakeholder Approach

Helping MEDNAX improve global population health for women, children, and other adults

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Leading in Outcomes and Satisfaction with a Multi-Stakeholder Approach

Episode 493

Recommended Book:

Home Deus

Best Way to Contact Ingrid:

LinkedIn

Company Website:

MEDNAX

Leading in Outcomes and Satisfaction with a Multi-Stakeholder Approach with Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, Chief Quality and Innovation Officer at MEDNAX transcript powered by Sonix—the best automated transcription service in 2020. Easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Leading in Outcomes and Satisfaction with a Multi-Stakeholder Approach with Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, Chief Quality and Innovation Officer at MEDNAX was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket Podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket, Saul Marquez here. And today we have the outstanding privilege of hosting Dr. Vasiliu Feltes Ingrid. She’s a health care futurist who has an extensive experience in the health care industry as a founder, executive consultant and speaker. She currently is the chief quality and innovation officer at Med Max Health Care Solutions. In this capacity, she provides oversight for all quality and innovation initiatives across the enterprise such as blockchain, A.I. Genomics, precision medicine, population health and so on. All the things that we’re so concerned about value based care. Additionally, she provides leadership to the Mednax Center for Research, Education, Quality and Safety. Prior to her current role, she held several leadership positions within the academic, corporate and nonprofit health care arena, most notably serving as V.P. of education, quality and safety. Medical Director of Clinical Research Trials and Medical Director of Managed Care. Her experience in this area is fascinating and the results that she’s produced through her career are very impressive and I’m excited to showcase many of the things that she’s up to at Mednax and beyond. So true privilege to have you on the podcast, Ingrid.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Thank you for inviting me. My pleasure to share some of my thoughts with the audience.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. So what inspires your work in health care, Ingrid?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
For me, it’s been the same inspiration since I decided to go to medical school. I want to contribute to patients safety. That has always been the driver for me personally. And then as I’ve advanced through my career, I believe in global population health. That’s something from a mission perspective that has always been a driver for me.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Very clear purpose. The North Star is very clear. How are you and Med Max at this point, adding value to the health care ecosystem?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Feel like you already were so kind and generous to share in the introduction. I’ve I’ve done a lot of things in healthcare. You can say that probably. I’ve been doing a 360 in the healthcare ecosystem. I’ve worked on the bears that I’ve worked in an academic health care system. I worked in a non-academic health care environment. I’ve also been the president of a not-for-profit for children. So I’ve tried everything. And my summary is that where I am now offers the following business value and at Med Max may have the opportunity to truly improved global population health for women, children and other adults. As you know, we are in the pediatric as well as women’s services lines as well as anesthesia and radiology. So from a mission perspective, to me, I believe strongly that we’re adding value to the whole healthcare ecosystem, not only from the types of service lands we offer, but also the quality of the work we do. And I also feel that from a business perspective, we have the opportunity to do our multiple business relationships with payers, hospital partners, provider groups and other not-for-profit agencies. We work together with to impact population health at a broad scale. There are not many organizations that have a presence in 50 states and serve such a wide range of populations and have the opportunity to also drive care to all our relationships in all of these service lines. And I think that closely related right, when you think about women’s and childrens, it’s a beautiful synergy that you can really impact the whole continuum of a mother and infant care. And then, of course, anesthesiology that doesn’t require an explanation and do our teleradiology component. Same thing. We’re in 50 states where one of the largest radiology groups in the country. And I do believe that through some of the excellent work our radiology teams are doing, we we also contribute broadly not only to the business but also to the quality of care in radiology.

Saul Marquez:
It’s really interesting. Right., I mean, you guys have decided to focus on these and these key areas. And I’m wondering what you believe makes Med Max different and better than what’s available today?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, I do believe that types of services we provide stand out and also our relationships that I described.It’s very rare that you have a provider group like us that also has very strong payer contracting component and also very large scale relationships with multiple types of hospital partners in 50 states.So I like to usually say that that type of innovation, the type of population health, that type of initiatives we can bring forth and contribute to the global health and scientific community are invaluable.We usually even from a data perspective, everybody talks about data these days. We have larger datasets than most other companies can ever dream of in terms of size. We’ve been in business for 40 years, and imagine in so many states, if you start to multiply the types of datasets, we come close to some of the largest I.T. companies in the world. So I think that brings unique value in terms of our insides, our research capabilities, our analytics capabilities and of course, more importantly than ever, the impact that we can have on driving clinical care and evidence faced back.

Saul Marquez:
Now, I think it’s really interesting Right. in that in that piece of data ownership and the quantity of it to make a difference. What’s your perspective on how a company is utilizing that? I feel like a lot of a lot of companies and especially providers don’t really know where to start. And it’s a struggle on how to use this data to for the greater good. Right. You talk about global population health. Many providers are focused on population health right, of their care areas. I’d like to hear from you some insights on how people can use their data.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Sure. I think I always like to make a distinction that it’s really important to focus on high quality data. You never want to analyze anything if you’re not spending a lot of time, effort and brainpower to to ensure that the quality of your dataset is as accurate as possible. I call it data hygiene. It reallyis crucial. After you ensure that. I think organizations that have large datasets like we do, as you know, currently everybody’s focused on AI. But I always say, even if you start to do any type of A.I. project, you always want to make sure you have a very clear understanding of what you’re aiming to accomplish. And I I’ve been speaking at a lot of conferences and I always say the same thing after data hygiene. The second most important element of our success when you look at data on one is data is to be super accurate, super clear on your technical specifications and what your ultimate goal is. If you don’t do that, you just analyze for the sake of analysis and you’ll never achieve the ultimate goal, which is to help patients. And like we just said, global population health. And when I say global population health, I tried to emphasize that you need to always take the full 360 perspective. Yes. You want to look at focused data elements and have high, rigourous criteria. But then you and let me want to know, what are we trying to impact short and long term in this population? Right. Because you don’t want to just have a nice analytics project. You want to impact care if possible today, right., all of us have families, friends that our patients today. And ultimately that always has to be the very clear goal, not only to contribute to the scientific society and community long term from a research perspective, precision medicine perspective and global population, but also help our patients now, today. So that’s how I always define what do we want to do with data. And I think our providers individually, which is not our case, we have large sets, but for providers individually, I always say the same thing. Try to look at your datasets and how you can help each patient through the lens of all your experience with all other patients, because that’s how your data becomes more valuable. You should just always look at it too narrowly, you’re not going to have the highest possible optimal value.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I think that’s some great, great insights there, Ingrid. And so, Med Max is got a unique position, right. I know you guys are a provider, but you’re also a firm that provides consulting and products. It’s a pretty unique place to be. Oftentimes you’re either one or the other. What insights can you offer to the listeners from having one foot in each of those worlds?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Yeah, you’re absolutely right.And we do have, like we said, a lot of relationships with payers because we we do have our payer contracting division that’s highly active and that requires unique skills, unique perspective and a thorough understanding how everything that happens in the healthcare ecosystem impacts, right, that relationship.And then we also have, of course, very close relationships with our hospital partners and then with our providers. We have 6000 clinicians that work for us in various specialties. So being able to balance the unique needs and viewpoints of all the stakeholders in the ecosystem is what we are faced with. And I think it’s an art, honestly, it’s similar to what the whole healthcare system in the country is facing. Right. one decision will impact everybody else in that ecosystem.

Saul Marquez:
Right.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
A domain of right.. So for us as a company, it’s the same concept. We need to make sure that whatever we do on the payer side is having appropriate implications that we desire and that we think through all of them. Of course, on the hospital partner side and on our clinician side while always maintaining excellent quality and safe care. So trying to balance all those elements, I think, yes, makes us unique. And sometimes people don’t always understand the complexity of trying to make decisions that help patients, help providers, help hospitals and payers alike.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, and it’s fascinating, because one of the struggles in health care is, is communicating across silos and you guys are by the nature of your company. You have to.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Yes, you are forced. There’s no other way to do it. No, that doesn’t always make it easy, but I think that’s why I called it on art. So you need science and art to make it work.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating. So, Ingrid, tell me a little bit more about what you believe, maybe how you guys have improved outcomes or made business better in the health care field?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, I can definitely talk about outcomes. So for most people that might be familiar with bed nets or for those that just aren’t learning today about it. We have one of the largest neonatology databases in the world. And we also have one of the largest data warehouse datasets, what we call clinical outcomes data in clinical process data sets in the world.And that has helped not only drives our clinical quality improvement initiatives, our safety initiatives, and has also helped us work with other organizations such as academic centers or any other not-for-profit institutions that are focused on improving patient care to drive best practices, to produce state of the art clinical research in very established journals. And our teams have launched several initiatives over the last few years. I’m going to only mention one. It’s called the Hundred Thousand Babies Campaign. It was publicized widely several years ago where we tried to emphasize certain clinical quality improvement elements that we believed were key drivers for improving outcomes. And we had several hundred neonatal ice using the country participate. So it was an unprecedented, cohesive effort to do that. Yes. And the outcomes and the results way exceeded what we were hoping. Not only did we improve certain very specific elements of care, but also recently we were able to do an analysis to see if all of those outcomes that we achieve short term were able to be sustained long term. And they did, it continued to improve after several years. We continue to see exponential improvement in all of those metrics that we at that time decided to look at. So that was reassuring to know that all of these efforts are worth it. That our clinicians to every single day at the bedside for our patients and at our teams and the research side and clinical quality improvement side are continuing to do. So therefore, we’re excited to say that in the first quarter of 2020, we’re launching our Baby Steps Campaign 2.0, and that’s how we’re calling it. So the 2.0 version will continue all the beautiful gains we’ve had from before and we’ll focus on the same type of important clinical outcomes that we selected then. And they will has two other components that are very relevant to the current healthcare environment. They will have a value-based component, obviously. Another one that’s unique to our service line in neonatology. It’s called an uber preemie collaborative because the environment has changed a lot and a lot of babies that before didn’t have the opportunity to get treated because of the advancements in technology and clinical expertise for our in our hospitals that we work with. We now have the opportunity to see more babies that that can make it out of the nick you at very early stages of prematurity. So I know this is very technical, but to a lot of parents in the world matters a lot? Right. when you get saved and when when their teams have an option at least to offer their parents. So one of the new elements of hundred thousand babies campaign is to have dedicated teams focusing only on the care for these super premature babies. So that has been very much welcome, not only by our clinicians who wanted this and are contributing to it, but also by our hospital partners and payers. I like they appreciate that we put the effort to develop clinical quality improvements and safety programs designed only for this very special population.

Saul Marquez:
But I think it’s wonderful. And so I was curious, Ingrid and the One Hundred Thousand Babies campaign, what’s one of the key metrics that I guess the most impactful metric that you found improved?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
It’s hard to pick one because we we’ve picked several, but I might be one that’s more relevant to the general audience than everybody might be able to relate to. So sepsis, so infection. That’s the technical term for infections. We believe that that’s a main driver, of course. And as you know, all major institutions in health care like IHI and National Patient Safety Foundation, there’s joint commission are always emphasizing that. So the same way for neonatology, one that everybody can relate to was sepsis. And we all focused on no one ever. No partner and no Physician, no nurse in any accepting will ever disagree that it’s important to control infection, right, and to appropriately diagnose them appropriately, treat them or prevent them, of course. So I would say was one that you could not have more support from all the stakeholders ever.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. Great example and appreciate you adding some granularity to it. The work is incredible. One hundred thousand babies campaign, hundreds of nick use participating. And now onto the second phase. Definitely exciting. What are you most proud of in the work that you’ve accomplished, whether it be in your career or the time that you’ve spent at Med Max?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, first, I would say I’m proud of our teams wherever I’ve worked, that I was very, very lucky that I always had excellent teams that work very hard. And not only were they professionally from a professional expertise, great teams, but I was very, very lucky that most of the teams I always work that also had their heart in the right place, so to speak. So we are always super aligned in our mission and vision. And I think that’s the part for me at Med Max. I always emphasized that I strongly believe in our mission and that’s the one thing. Although it’s tough to work in healthcare. I don’t think you’re going to ever hear anybody that said that healthcare is easy if you have a mission that you can relate to. Then everything else is tolerable, so to speak, about the challenges we face in healthcare.

Saul Marquez:
I love it.That’s a great one. Ingrid And so as you think about one of the biggest setbacks or obstacles that you faced. What was that and and what was the key learning?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
So you have to cut me off because otherwise I might talk too much. But the set the setbacks I always felt that if if you’re trying to solve a problem, everybody should should just put all the other interests aside and try to solve the problem. But as you know, it’s not always easy. And I think the silos that we’re still experiencing in healthcare, I think those are, for me, the most frustrating. Ideologically, most people want to do well. Ideologically, most stakeholders obviously will state that they want to achieve the same goal. But sometimes the daily silos that we experience. And when I say silos is everybody has their specific goals. They need to achieve Right.. We have legislative and regulatory guidelines. We have budgets. We have all kinds of limitations. And everybody, of course, has to follow them. But I feel that sometimes working in a more cross disciplinarian, interdisciplinary way in breaking these silos would be very helpful to the healthcare ecosystem as a whole. So that’s the one I would say when you look at other industries, I think they’ve been able to master that much better than healthcare. My that’s my professional in just individual opinion. That’s not a company opinion. I feel like in general in healthcare, when you look at banking as an example, Right. or any other industry, we can find many. They’ve been able to break through some of these boundaries that are artificially designed. And I think in healthcare was still struggling with things that were decided maybe twenty five years ago. And although technology has advanced and we’re faced beautiful clinical innovations and scientific discoveries, we still have other things that are a decade behind. Let’s say you’re not my my biggest frustration and setback. So to speak.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I think it’s a good call out. And and part of the mission that we have here at the podcast to connect those silos by sharing ideas with the listeners and giving outstanding folks like yourself a platform to share the great things that are that are happening. What would you say you’re most excited about today? Ingrid?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, I think the reason why you see me being in innovation is because of the potential for innovation to really transform and disrupt healthcare. I think we’re at a unique crossroads at this time where the technological advances, the scientific advances, the type of opportunities we see are unique. Well, probably over the past several hundred years, I would say. I know it sounds big, but I really do believe that we have a chance to see a transformation that some people call you on the floor of the industrial revolution. Right. technology and innovation perspective. And I am excited to do a tiny, tiny part that I can do to contribute to that. For us, I think where I see a niche and why I believe in innovation is that I think if you integrated with clinical care and always keep in mind that you don’t just innovate for the sake of innovation, but you want to innovate to help patients, then I think we can achieve quite a lot. And that’s what I like to focus on clinical innovation and that potentially it has to transform population health and to really change the way we define the illness, the way we diagnose the illness, the way we can change from sick care to preventive care, I think, I think that’s what I’m excited about.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s definitely a lot to be excited about. And the timing has never been better. If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, I’m gonna deviate here from healthcare a little bit, but.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, please. Could be anybody.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, so my Idol for a long time has been Christine Lagarde. Many of you know, she’s the president of the European Central Bank.

Saul Marquez:
Very cool.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
And she was actually recently chosen as one of the influential women on number two by Forbes. But I’ve been following her for a while. And what I always liked is that she always stayed true to herself.Like although she’s always had very important roles, obviously with tremendous impact globally. When you hear her talk, she’s always been very genuine. She is firm but humble. And I think she does not hesitate to always emphasize her own original thoughts. And I think it’s another domain where you have obviously multiple stakeholders.

Saul Marquez:
Oh, yeah.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
I feel like she knows how to still keep her backbone, so to speak, bring her own ideas to fruition, but also work in that kind of very nuanced, complex environment. Hope yes, if I could have lunch, she would be first on my list. I know it’s an unusual pick, but.

Saul Marquez:
No, it’s great, though.But, you know, once you know, if you think about, like you said, the elements of complexity, multi-stakeholder systems and sort of what has to be done. I mean, I think a great call-out then very interesting sample from from the European side of things. So, Ingrid, what would you say? You’re obviously very engaged and thinking about the future. You’ve had a very interesting career, a physician and now at the company. What book would you recommend to the listeners?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Oh, so it’s a nerdy book.

Saul Marquez:
But I like nerdy books.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
If I had to pick, I think, Homo Deus by Yuval Harari.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
And I think for those that like that one, they probably would love Sapiens, but there’s even more nerdy. But I think out of all I like a lot of books. So that’s probably the toughest question you ask because I’m a super reader. I love a lot, I love reading a lot, but Homo Deus property. I love not only the coarse talent he has, but I think also the content he was able to compress in that book is astonishing.

Saul Marquez:
Homo Deus.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Have you had to read it yet?

Saul Marquez:
Homo Deus, as I did the quick notes on it. I didn’t dive deep, but after the quick notes I definitely have it on my short list. There’s like, you know, I love reading and there’s so many books. And this is one of the questions that I ask all of my guests. And so I just like I found the best way to do it was to get the quick lists or the quick notes. And then if it if I could graduate it than I do. And that one made it. So I’m glad to hear from you. That was like the final check. It went from third place to first now. And I read it next.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
I really enjoyed it. And I even like just his subtitle, which is Brief History of Tomorrow. Right.. Just the title already kind of illustrates what he’s trying to accomplish. And I always tell friends that ask me the same question you asked me. I don’t think you have to like it. But I think it’s a good book to read. You can disagree with everything he says. That’s OK. But I still believe he compressed quite a lot of data that otherwise you would never be able to get in one book. So it’s a gargantuan effort. I think he had and then also the way he presented this is quite sarcastic.If you’re like sarcastic kind of styles, that’s him.

Saul Marquez:
All right. Love it. There you have it, folks. And by the way, you all know this. You’ve been listening for a while. But if you’re a new listener, go to outcomesrocket.health in the search bar. You could type in Ingrid or type in Mednax, M E D N A X and the show notes will come up. That’s where we keep all the books that our guests’ mentioned. Like today’s book Homo Deus that Ingrid recommended to us. Check it out there. And you can also have the full show notes, as well as the full transcript of our discussion today. What’s the best advice you ever received?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
That’s the devil’s question, I would say. I had two mentors that really shaped my career. Wow. One was one of our female professors in my MBA, became also a close friend. And she always told me to believe in myself and not to ever think I think too big, which is what I was told prior to that. Always. That you think to big, you’ll never accomplish all of that. Think small. Do one thing at a time. And she advised me the other way. Think big.Do what ever you feel is meaningful to you, and you feel that you can accomplish the mission that you think is worth. And so I followed that. That was the truth. And so she was one. And then I think the other mentor was to never underestimate the humble leadership style and integrity. And I think that’s the best one. I mean, nothing supersedes integrity. No matter what you do, the rest can be solved. But if you don’t have integrity, everything else will falter. So, I think that if I had to pick one, that’s still.

Saul Marquez:
Love it.What a great message, Ingrid. It’s powerful, especially in you know, in times when people want results and people live by the quarter and integrity will get you all the way there. And I think it’s a very important call out in today’s business environment. In the clinical environment, do the right thing. So this has been great. Ingrid, I’m excited to hear about how the baby steps campaign goes 2.0. And so definitely let’s maybe put it on our schedule to do this again, maybe in a year or so. But I want to thank you for your insights today and the opportunity that you gave us to connect with you and learn more about what you guys are up to.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, thank you for having me and thank you for allowing me to share some of my thoughts on what our company is doing and most importantly, our clinicians that are at the bedside every day.

Saul Marquez:
So leave us with the closing thought. What do you want the listeners to leave from our conversation with?

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Well, I think for our conversation, two things. One is from a personal perspective, I think everybody should always be mindful that what you do is what you are. So not just talk to actually lead by example. And then for our company, I think of those of you who are not familiar, just check us out. They do great work and we do help a quarter of the babies born in the United States every single day. So that’s not a small feat.

Saul Marquez:
It’s not a small feat at all. So folks that you haven’t had a chance to check out Med Max, medmax.com, an incredible company with a powerful mission and a quarter of the U.S. babies a year. That’s serious stuff. So check them out. Heed Ingrid’s advice, live with integrity and think big. Ingrid, with that, I want to thank you again for being with us.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes :
Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity.

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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