Q&A with Greg Poulsen, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Intermountain Healthcare

Q&A with Greg Poulsen, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Intermountain Healthcare

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | August 09, 2016
Greg Poulsen
From the August 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HealthCare Business News recently spoke with Greg Poulsen, senior vice president for Intermountain Healthcare, to learn more about his long-standing role with the organization, what developments are in the works and how the health care provider attracts top talent and patients.

HCB News: How did you get involved in health care?
GP:
I’ve been at Intermountain Healthcare since graduate school, so 34 years. I came here because I was looking for analytical tools to assist in understanding the costs in health care.

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HCB News: How did that get you involved with Intermountain?
GP:
It wasn’t something obvious to me at the time. I was in business school and troubled by America’s non-competitiveness in the world. Part of the problem was America’s cost of health care. I found Intermountain wasn’t in it to make money. It was working to improve lives and it was led by people to deliver national economic security.

HCB News: What attracts staff?
GP:
There’s our mission statement of helping people live the healthiest lives possible. I think we really believe our success is contingent on our belief in our mission statement.

HCB News: What is the leadership style there?
GP:
It’s very collaborative. We have had three CEOs from our start in 1975 to the present time. All have been in the mode of collaboration leading to the best performance.

HCB News: What attracts patients?
GP:
People want to know that when they have a critical health problem, we can provide everything necessary to care for them and the best opportunity to be healthy. The fact that we understand best practices and have survival rates for things like acute respiratory issues and sepsis that are dramatically better than the national average helps attract patients, too.

HCB News: What challenges does Intermountain Healthcare face?
GP:
Probably, the biggest challenge is the same challenge everyone’s trying to solve. It’s finding ways to provide care more affordably. Our nation simply can’t afford the cost of care today.

HCB News: What are you looking to do better?
GP:
In general, there are a whole series of things we can do more effectively to prevent entire areas of illnesses. For example, at Intermountain, the diabetics we treat are at lower risk of heart disease, blindness or amputation than the general public because we work with them to keep their blood sugar under tight control. That’s the type of thing we want to do across all of our care for patients. We want to avoid the necessity of treating those additional problems, and those additional areas of treatment, in the first place, and we have proven it’s possible and seen the benefits to the health care system, and more importantly, to our patients.

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