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Learn More About Scott Wallace

Health care delivery in America is in the throes of transformation – and Scott Wallace is playing an influential part. Leveraging his extensive business and health policy background, Wallace works in the U.S. and around the world with employers, health care providers, health plans, device and pharma companies, governments and others to develop new health benefit and care models to improve health and the value of care delivery.

Wallace is currently an associate professor and the managing director of the Value Institute for Health and Care at the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School, itself a pioneer in the movement toward value-based health care. From May to December 2016, he served as the school’s interim chief business officer. Wallace is also public director of the American Board of Ophthalmology and a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Previously, he served on the faculty of Harvard Business School’s executive education program on health care strategy and was a Distinguished Fellow at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, where he helped to create its masters in health care delivery science program, an innovative new course for mid-career executives and clinicians from across the U.S. and more than 15 countries.

In collaboration with Elizabeth Teisberg – a leading expert on value creation and its integral role in improving service delivery in health care – Wallace teaches highly interactive workshops on value-based health care delivery. The expert duo – also co-authors of a forthcoming book, “Capability, Comfort and Calm: Designing Health Care Services for Excellence and Empathy” – deliver custom content programs onsite, a significant differentiator from typical executive education platforms.

Together, Wallace and Teisberg developed a proprietary human-centered design research tool called the Experience GroupTM method. Unlike focus groups that test existing or planned products or services, Experience Group sessions improve health care services by allowing caregivers to understand what patients experience living with their condition. The method identifies distinct segments of patients, and the unmet needs, gaps in care and obstacles to health that impede them and the outcomes patients feel are most important. Wallace teamed with senior leaders of a large academic medical system to teach and successfully implement the research tool. Since then, the hospital system facilitators have identified different functional outcome metrics for women with breast reconstructions, new care delivery protocols for patients with colon cancer and streamlined care for patients with mitral valve disorders.

An engaging and effective teacher and speaker, Wallace’s work across the health care sector is wide-ranging and far-reaching. He is helping design and create new, integrated care delivery models and outcome measurement systems at Dell Medical School. He has advised hospital systems seeking to develop functional outcome measures that more tightly align the goals of patients and providers, and that evaluate clinicians on their professional results rather than process compliance and hotel-like measures of patient satisfaction. Wallace also advised teams from 14 health care delivery organizations across northwestern Ontario, Canada, to reorganize care delivery around patient needs.

Prior to his university affiliations, Wallace was 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 co-founded the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, a leading health care IT certification body. Prior to his commitment to health care, Wallace was CEO of a successful specialty chemical company that grew 10-fold during his tenure. He began his career working in corporate law and venture capital.

Wallace speaks, publishes and consults internationally on outcome measurement, patient experience, population health and change management, as well as policy, innovation and financing issues in health care. Lauded as a superior communicator and storyteller, he customizes his presentations to ensure optimal relevance and audience interaction.

Wallace holds a juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School, a master’s degree with honors in business administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and has 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®.

Scott Wallace was last modified: September 13th, 2022 by Justin Louis

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Human-Centered Design: Using the Experience Group™ Method to Create Patient-Centered Care

Health care is about service and experience. Although most service design starts by identifying customers’ unmet needs, health care delivery innovations often rely on clinicians’ views, overlooking patients’ needs and goals. That difference explains why many care delivery innovations produce disappointing results. To get better results, care delivery organizations need to understand the experiences of patients as they live their lives, says Scott Wallace. His Experience Group methodology provides a solution to the challenges of knowing what matters to patients and of gaining insights about unmet needs, gaps in care and obstacles that prevent people from achieving better health.

Wallace discusses the Experience Group method and how it provides deeper insight than surveys or focus groups, both of which are constrained by the presumptions of their creators and are often subject to courtesy biases. Most patient advisory panels are too heterogeneous, leaving patients to discuss only issues they have in common, which are often not specific to health (e.g., parking, waiting and food service).  He also describes in detail the challenges organizations face designing new, more effective health care services and reveals some of the insights identified with the Experience Group methodology.

Capability, Comfort and Calm: Designing Health Care Services for Excellence and Empathy

Health care affects people’s quality of life and dignity of death. But these ideas are too ethereal to guide caregivers’ day-to-day activities, just as patient experience and satisfaction measures don’t reflect what matters most to patients or clinicians. Instead, according to Scott Wallace, clinicians can and should measure outcomes across three dimensions – capability, comfort and calm.

Capability measures functional outcomes – a patient’s ability to do the things that are most important. Comfort measures the success in alleviating pain and suffering, reducing symptoms and addressing the angst of illness. Calm focuses on eliminating the mayhem and chaos health care typically induces. Drawing from his forthcoming book of the same title, written in collaboration with Elizabeth Teisberg, Wallace discusses how the framework of “Capability, Comfort and Calm” provides clinicians a discrete set of relevant measures they can track to improve health and health care. He also describes how he has used it to develop better outcome measures at Dell Medical School and with clinicians around the world.

Patient Experience: How Are You, Not How Was I

Ironically, patient experience and patient satisfaction surveys are not very patient-centered. After all, their basic question is, “How was I?” They ask patients about the hospital and its staff, but omit the single most important question: “How are you?” In reality, respect, attentiveness and caring are not stretch goals; clinicians’ aspirations must exceed hotel attributes.  Sure, clinicians routinely ask patients how they are, but those results don’t get consistently tracked or recorded and therefore aren’t useful in improving care delivery. Scott Wallace discusses a new approach to patient experience and satisfaction measurement, focusing on the health results that matter most to patients. Tracking and reporting those outcomes aligns the interests of clinicians and their patients and fuels clinicians’ empathy for their patients.

Change Management: Taking the Steps Within Your Stride

Around the world, value-based care delivery is gaining momentum – and vital support. Improving value – health outcomes that matter to patients for the cost of delivering those outcomes – is now widely recognized as a critical objective of health care reform. And most health care leaders view it as an urgent priority. But how do organizations redefine care to dramatically improve value for patients? In nearly a decade implementing value-based care worldwide, Scott Wallace has observed that when leaders set the compass by establishing value for patients as the unequivocal goal, they create a powerful cultural shift, inspiring care teams and renewing the professional calling of those in health and healing.

But what happens next? Inevitably, inspirational objectives lead to the question of “How?” Wallace discusses four steps that organizations seeking to redefine care delivery must work through. Taking these “steps within your stride” transforms an organization in the direction of higher value services for patients, no heroic leaps required.

Value-Based Health Care: Implications for Pharma and Device Companies

The move to value-based reimbursement models will affect supply chain companies as much as it does care providers. Most pharmaceutical and device companies are seeking ways to help their care delivery partners achieve higher value with their products. The future of supply companies, Scott Wallace says, hinges on their ability to demonstrate the value of new therapies and devices in the hands of partners.

Supply chain companies often have deeper, more sophisticated resources for outcome and cost measurement; use those resources to help partners demonstrate value through better health outcomes and lower overall costs. Wallace discusses how pharmaceutical and device companies can select better partners, help build learning care delivery systems and demonstrate value.

Value for Patients

August 16, 2015

University of Texas Dell Med Logo

Value Institute for Health and Care Annual Reports

(University of Texas at Austin, 2021)

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Creating a High-Value Delivery System for Health Care

(Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, March 2009)

“Scott was an excellent addition to The Walrus Leadership Dinner on Value-based Health Care. He brought valuable insight through his prepared remarks, provoking a spirited conversation among the assembled guests, which was just what we hoped for. We also really appreciated his engagement with the group during the open conversation portion of the evening, answering questions and contributing his thoughts and experiences. I received a note from another guest saying ‘I think Scott was great. I think we need more people from outside our bubble who actually have something to share as opposed to speakers from here who are all proponents of the status quo.'”

Cailin Cooper, Head of Events, The Walrus

“I thoroughly enjoyed your session at the meeting this week. It was challenging and thought-provoking. I look forward to engaging our organization in defining true measures of value and hope to give you a report of great success in the future.”

Michael Wiggins, Vice President-Operations, Children’s of Alabama

“Scott Wallace was the keynote speaker at our annual statewide conference, invited at a time when both state and community health care delivery and payment systems are being reimagined. His presentation was cogent, rich with illustrations that brought key messages home, and had our association’s members engrossed and excited about the promise and payoff of value-focused health care delivery. Scott’s style is accessible, good-humored, and engaging – and will appeal to any audience looking for both an intellectual shot in the arm and the inspiration of a well-illuminated way forward.”

Peggy Hill, Chief Operations Officer, Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council

“Your two presentations were the highlight of the conference for me and others from our agency who attended. We are already looking at how we might incorporate some of your ideas.”

Patsy Boyle, Chief Operating Officer, Midwestern Colorado Mental Health Center