Amedisys (Nasdaq: AMED) has a new point person to help drive its innovation efforts and advance its aging-in-place strategy.
After most recently serving in various capacities at the Advisory Board Company, health care veteran Sandra Schrauf joined Amedisys at the beginning of March as its senior vice president of innovations.
The position is a new one for the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based home health, hospice and personal care company, which is currently in the midst of multiple risk-sharing pilots and refining its use of predictive analytics tools.
“For the last five to seven years, I’ve really been doing general management roles at the Advisory Board Company across a mix of acute care as well as population health-focused solutions,” Schrauf told HHCN. “I would say the theme that is consistent across all the roles I took on was always working on products focused on reducing care variation and driving better outcomes for patients — while reducing the total cost of care.”
The Advisory Board Company provides independent research, advisory services and data analytics for thousands of health care organizations. It was split up in 2017 as part of a $2.58 billion deal with UnitedHealth Group and a private equity firm, with its health-services segment falling under the management of UnitedHealth’s Optum.
Prior to joining the Advisory Board Company, Schrauf served as a consultant at international consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where she focused on pharmacy product launches, health insurance value-added offerings — including disease management — and private equity portfolio company support and due diligence.
“Based on what I was seeing, to me, it was clear the future of patient care was slowly heading out of the facilities and into the home,” Schrauf said. “There’s just a need to do more and do better to allow patients to age gracefully in place, for them to get services that will help them sustain and maintain healthy lives in the home.”
Leading the innovation charge
Companies throughout the health care sector have moved to create and fill executive-level innovations positions in recent months.
Lafayette, Louisiana-based LHC Group (Nasdaq: LHCG), for example, announced the creation of a new chief innovation and technology officer role in May, a position filled by former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services CTO Bruce Greenstein.
Amedisys and LHC Group are currently two of the largest independent home health providers in the country.
In general, the rise of the innovation executive is largely tied to the flood of changes the home health industry is experiencing, according to Schrauf, who worked with roughly 250 health system, ACO and medical group clients combining for $90 million in annual revenues while at the Advisory Board Company.
“I think you’re seeing a response to the speed of change in the industry and the speed of need for that innovation to take hold,” she said. “You reach a point where there’s substantial scale and effort. You might have had a few pilots going on maybe eight years ago, but you’re at a different point now — and I just think you’re seeing investment match the pace of change, the pace of projects and initiatives going on across the industry.”
Moving forward, Schrauf plans to explore opportunities for Amedisys to continue improving its operations, grow its overall business and support the workstreams around its portfolio of innovative programs. That includes its work in places such as Massachusetts, where the company is managing patients across the full continuum of care from pre-acute status to end of life.
Making sure Amedisys is best leveraging data and analytics will likewise be among Schrauf’s top priorities.
“My focus is really going to be on supporting the workstreams that we have running that are building our capabilities set and tools set to support our aging in place strategy,” she said. “To do that, you need good individual-level patient data to help you drive those improved outcomes. You can’t do this without knowing who your highest-risk and rising-risk patients are.”
“You’ve got to be able to predict the right types of interventions and supports that will let you successfully alter your patient support and care plan to keep them well — and prevent those unnecessary [emergency department] visits and hospitalizations,” Schrauf added.