Life, Liberty, & Happiness

Human Care


had the distinct honor of attending the Third Annual Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit in Chicago this week.

The atmosphere was charged with the expectant energy of 500 industry leaders and titans of change. I was so inspired.

The goal of the event was to face, head on, what’s needed to transform and personalize healthcare. The discussion was real -- removing barriers; making healthcare affordable; delivering transparency; sharing data; and integrating health and healthcare into the way consumers have already done with so many other facets of their lives.

Terry Stone, global managing partner of Oliver Wyman’s Health & Life Sciences practice, said it best, “The converging forces of a true retail consumer market and emerging digital innovations will disrupt traditional healthcare on par with what ATMs did to banking, Netflix did to video entertainment or Uber did to the taxi industry."

There were four key themes to the conference:

  1. Population Health & Value-Based Care
  2. The Empowered Consumer
  3. Precision Medicine and the New Science
  4. The Leadership Imperative

Over the course of the 2 days, I witnessed, first hand, some of the amazing and transformative businesses that are shaping the future of healthcare. It was evident the healthcare industry is experiencing a tectonic shift.

I heard stories and insights from industry titans like Dr. Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Acting Assistant Secretary of Health, U.S. Health and Human Services; Mark Ganz, President and CEO of Cambia Health Solutions; Pat Geraghty, CEO of GuideWell; and Scott McDonald, CEO of Oliver Wyman to name a few.  Equally as present were highly respected consumer experts like Cheryl Hughey, Senior Director of Culture Services for Southwest Airlines; Dr. Harry Leider, CMO of Walgreens; and Shawn Leavitt, Senior VP of Global Benefits for Comcast and NBCUniversal.

Here are some of the most powerful thoughts that we shared:

  • The words “consumer” and “human” will lead us to the right place to start building meaningful relationships – the greatest disruptor of the healthcare system is the consumer.
  • We need to move healthcare from “what’s the matter with you” to “what matters to you.”
  • End users never complain about being involved too early in the product development process.
  • There is indeed a direct link between health literacy and the overall state of health of a community.
  • The Paradox of Choice – too many choices lead to no decisions (aka:  Hicks Law)
  • There is no silver bullet – healthcare transformation occurs one customer at a time.
  • Targeted therapies are turning cancer into a chronic disease.
  • Bold leaders who really what to be disruptive bet on new innovations while the rest of the industry just continues to do financial engineering M&A.
  • Price is a powerful data point.  A real customer is the greatest validator of a concept.
  • Identify which preferences really matter to consumers – then offer options that are empowering – not overpowering.
  • Simplicity and trusted advice account for almost 60% of what drives consumer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Cornerstones of great service that are daily occurrences in the retail and the consumer brand space must also apply to the business of health.
  • Empathy, personal service, empowerment and shared perspectives are all part of our new health reality.
  • The job of a leader is not to preserve the status quo, you must evolve. Leaders must be change agents, driving innovation across their organizations.
  • The greatest drivers in our evolution are technology and personal data.
  • Imagine a world where the gene markers for chronic illness are identified before you are born.  
  • The learning to come from sharing outcomes across communities and across continents will improve the health of the world – and in doing so, improves the health of your own family.
  • Social data has incredible power (Projects like Symplur’s Healthcare Hashtag Project to help us gain insight into people’s lives to provide the best care for them and their families.)

As I reflect on the time spent, one thought continues to resonate for me at a deeply personal level: “real transformation begins with one human being.” It all begins with me (and you) – and our having the courage to transform health - one consumer at a time. And to deliver that care, we need a community with a shared purpose and a singular voice.

I formed Narus Health with a singular purpose: to change the healthcare conversation for those facing life-limiting illness. If we are truly going to revolutionize the way we care for those with life-limiting illness, we must build a culture rooted in the service of others. Listening first to understand and placing what matters most to our patients, their families, physicians and our partners above all else.

I am inspired by the future of our industry – and I am committed to creating a better system for human beings. Human care.

About Dr. Michael Burcham

Michael is an executive coach, entrepreneur, investor, and strategist with 30 years of experience leading investor-backed, high-growth organizations.

“I built and sold a $40M company with Dr. Burcham as my mentor. This is the thing: if you EVER get the opportunity to learn from this man, from that moment forward, you’ll list him as one of the most influential people in your life, even if you live to be 90. And, you’ll know how lucky you were to have that opportunity and you’ll immediately say YES to any chance to be in his presence again—his wisdom is that impactful.”

Sherry Stewart Deutschmann

Former CEO, Letter Logic

“If you are looking for a trusted mentor and coach for yourself or your leadership team, I highly recommend Michael Burcham. He has worked with me as my executive coach for well over a decade now. Our conversations and his feedback have helped me sharpen my critical thinking skills. He’s a trusted advisor that I can confidentially speak with about any issue—and I know I’ll get valued feedback. I highly recommend him.”

Ryan McGrath

CEO, Asset Living

“Dr. Burcham’s depth and breadth of experience makes even the most ADD entrepreneurial leader sit up and take notes! His coaching skills bring out the ‘best you’ possible. He selflessly shares the good, the bad, and the ugly—leaving you with an authentic and moving experience sure to spur action and professional growth!”

Julie Lenzer

Director, U.S. Department of Commerce


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