Learn More About Scott Wallace
Few subjects in contemporary America are as misunderstood, controversial, emotive, and politicized as health care. Scott Wallace, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School and managing director of the Value Institute for Health and Care, a joint enterprise between Dell Med and the McCombs School of Business, is cutting through the bias and misinformation to introduce practical solutions to health care’s most pressing problems.
By innovating the patient experience, focusing on and measuring outcomes, and recognizing the wider economic benefits of a healthy workforce, Wallace says the state of the nation’s health can be drastically improved – to everyone’s benefit.
Wallace’s practical, evidence-based approach to reforming health care is rooted in his background in business: he was the CEO of Eichrom Industries, a specialty chemical company that grew tenfold during his tenure; he served as the first president and CEO of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, an organization committed to creating a safer, more efficient and unified health care system through IT; he was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the Commission on Systemic Interoperability, a federal commission created to advise the White House and Congress on health transformation through IT, and he co-founded the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology. For an issue as complex as America’s health care system, a holistic approach is required, and Wallace’s cross-disciplinary expertise in business, health policy, and technology offers powerful, meaningful solutions.
“As a business executive, I had every system connected to my computer, but health care still relies heavily on paper,” explains Wallace, who has an undergraduate degree in economics, an MBA and practiced corporate and transactional law. “I once thought that if we could just get electronic health records (EHR) onto the desk of every doctor in America, we could get so much more done. In reality, we need to transform the entire care delivery system and focus it on the outcomes that matter to patients.”
Reduced Health Care Costs Can Lead to Healthier Employees
Recipient of the University of Texas 2022-2023 President’s Associates Graduate Teaching Excellence Award, Wallace is motivated not only by a desire to educate students and help patients, but also to help companies get the best value from employee health care. The key, he says, is finding ways to take costs out of the system rather than simply shifting them around. Businesses fixate on health care costs, but they miss the opportunity to use what they spend to achieve more health, says Wallace. He points out that living in good health is much less expensive than living in poor health. The silver bullet to health care costs, Wallace says, is to get better health outcomes from the care employers are already purchasing.
No company’s workforce is alike in its medical needs; for a company that employs mostly older workers, heart disease might be more of a problem than maternity care. And yet, companies buy plans based on cost and not on the needs of their employees. The result is that health benefits fail to deliver the level of health that they could. Unlike in countries where health care is government-controlled, Wallace argues, American firms can customize employee health care to suit their employees’ needs, and in doing so raise the health of their workforce which will reduce costs. With his research and practical expertise, Wallace shows companies how they can capitalize on their ability to play an active role in their workers’ health and care while reining in ballooning costs.
“Instead of focusing only on cost, HR leaders need to pay attention to value,” explains Wallace and co-author Elizabeth Teisberg. “Despite year-over-year record spending, the health of too many Americans isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse. Employers and employees alike aren’t getting enough health for the money being spent.”
With an 8-step implementation framework serving as the basis for UT Austin’s Master of Science in Health Care Transformation program, Wallace is a pioneer in revolutionizing the way health care is delivered, focusing not on the delivery process but on the outcomes, making the patient’s health the priority.
Improved Health Care Starts With Empathy
At the Value Institute for Health and Care, Wallace and his colleagues have developed a unique research process – the Experience Group Method – that efficiently illuminates the outcomes that matter most to patients. The method identifies segments of patients and the obstacles that impede their health such as unmet needs and gaps in care. Wallace’s framework allows clinicians to understand and measure the outcomes that are most important to their patients.
“The lack of outcome measurement is health care’s biggest self-inflicted wound,” concludes Wallace. “Measuring outcomes according to capability, comfort and calm is a really important step in all of this. Improving outcomes reduces the need for care.”
Scott Wallace, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School and McCombs School of Business and managing director of the Value Institute for Health and Care, is a former venture capitalist, the first president and CEO of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, and cofounder of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology. Wallace helped to create Dartmouth College’s master’s in health care delivery science program, an innovative course for midcareer executives and clinicians. He also served on the faculty for Harvard Business School’s executive education program health care strategy.
In 2003, Wallace was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the Commission on Systemic Interoperability. He was a Director of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee from 2006 – 2011, Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business from 2008 – 2010, a distinguished fellow at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine from 2014 – 2016, and he served as Public Director for the American Board of Ophthalmology from 2016 – 2020.
Wallace holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University.
Scott Wallace is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.