One on One with Chartis Group's Ken Graboys

Ken Graboys The healthcare industry is changing rapidly. Advancements in technology, clinically integrated networks and more sophisticated analytics are fundamentally changing how care is delivered, leading to more effective outcomes for patients and greater efficiencies for healthcare providers. Aspen Advisors, a top-ranked IT services firm has joined the Chartis Group, a leading provider of strategic planning, accountable care, clinical transformation and information technology consulting services to the country’s leading healthcare providers. Together they hope to leverage their complementary expertise to prepare clients for challenges emerging in healthcare today as well as new ones coming around the corner. Consulting caught up with Ken Graboys, co-founder and Managing Director of Chartis to talk about the partnership and how it will impact healthcare consulting.

Consulting: How did it come to pass that Aspen joined the Chartis Group?

Graboys: It was the culmination of a very deliberate effort. In healthcare it’s no surprise that as we enter the next few years two elements of transformation are experiencing a real confluence. The first being healthcare reform, which has been taken to a point now where accountable care has become the closest to a representation of what the future of healthcare is going to look like. That represents an enormous amount of change healthcare providers are going through. At the same time, technology has achieved a scale and level of advancement both in terms of how clinical data can be used and emerging technologies changing the digital experience in such a way that the two forces represent a fundamental transformation of care and delivery over the next 5 to 10 years. For us to be able to provide leading-edge advisory services to our clients we knew we had to come together with a firm that had a reputation for thought leadership and IT in the healthcare space. When you look at the landscape there’s only really one firm that has the experience, the capabilities, the respect of the industry and the knowledge base to bring those expertise to bear, and that’s Aspen. We began working with them and it quickly became clear that culturally and from a mission perspective we were very aligned and that coming together we could do even more for the industry than separately.

Consulting: What impact do you hope this partnership will have on healthcare consulting industry?

Graboys: It’s not a surprise to any healthcare consulting firm out there that technology is the most transformative potential force in the industry over the next 5-10 years. I think you see many firms across the country all say they offer strategy, IT, outsourcing, the whole kit and caboodle. In many cases what that looks like is at the table you have the different people with different expertise sitting together and that’s what constitutes integration. We don’t see it that way. We think IT will become core to the delivery of care itself. It’ll become core to relationships between providers and patients, physicians and payers. Those organizations that understand the emergence of digital technology and understand the capabilities of big data and micro data and the ability to use those to take care of communities and have that be an essential core to their strategy instead of an enabler are going to be the first movers who are really changing healthcare in their respective communities. The reason we came together with Aspen is this desire to integrate their thought leadership with IT and emerging technology expertise with our background and expertise in strategic planning, economic models

Consulting: How will this enhance Chartis’ service offerings?

Graboys: Over the last 14 years Chartis had grown based on delivering strategic planning services, accountable care solution services and clinincal transformation services to leading health systems throughout the nation. As we enter the next stage of growth for the healthcare delivery landscape, doing that without being able to give advice on what IT, business intelligence and advanced analytics can do to accelerate your strategy or how you’ll transform your clinical model is to give advice that’s missing a core component. So if we’re going to continue to be on the vanguard of thought in the industry we have to be able to do so in a way that includes the transformative capabilities of IT, data and analytics.

Consulting: What else are clients demanding?

Graboys: Questions continue around how do we build these clinically integrated networks across the entire continuum that can take care of populations in a more effective way where there’s an alignment of interests and incentives, information and practices. So the experience you or I have when we’re well or we’re sick is much more effiicient and effective and has higher clinical quality outcomes. Once that’s designed, the question becomes how do we reorient our care delivery capability and models to do that. The last few decades has seen explosive growth in the areas of some specialties of medicine, and yet the future will call for the growth of primary care and preventative health. So how do we reorient ourselves as organizations to support that structure? We think the growth in advisory services will really be those two areas in addition to IT and analytics.

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