Get ready for a cold dose of reality. On this episode, we’re talking with Neil Carpenter, VP of Strategic Planning at Array Advisors and former health system Chief Strategy Officer, about how health systems think. This behind the scenes look at health system strategy, decision-making, and purchasing tells you much of what you need to know as a startup/vendor trying to sell into this market. You won’t like everything you learn, but it’ll give you a much more productive way to look at your product or service and how you fit into the cold-hard reality of health systems.

You’ll learn:

  • Health systems are permission oriented and consensus-driven. What does that mean and how does it affect your sales strategy?
  • The difference between the big-name systems and their scrappy competitors down the road.
  • What is the role of a Chief Strategy Officer at a health system and how can you work with them to get your foot in the door?
  • Why health systems are so focused on what’s happening right now and struggle to look to the future.
  • That most decisions are driven by personal, and not organizational interests, and how that impacts your ability to make deals
  • How to avoid the common pitfall of focusing on your solution, and not taking the time to truly understand your buyer
  • Why it’s easier for health systems to buy from established players than small shops NOTE: We touched on this in Episode 148: Partnering with Payers too
  • Why health system executive compensation and performance expectations make innovation difficult
  • Why the “local monopoly” strategy is so common for health systems and why telemedicine is so threatening to that model
  • How to get to know health systems you’re trying to sell to
  • What are the two primary power centers within the health system and how to work with each of them?
  • Which solution spaces are overcrowded and should be avoided?
  • Which solution spaces are wide-open and ready for new solutions?
  • Why a good spreadsheet may be your most potent sales tool

This one is densely packed and full of fire. You may want to listen twice.

Neil Carpenter

Neil Carpenter is a health care strategy and innovation consultant– he advises clients from health systems (e.g., on the future of precision medicine, ambulatory planning) to the State of Maryland (e.g., COVID-19 planning).  Neil’s thought leadership, where he is the VP of Strategic Planning at Array Advisors modeling the impact of COVID-19 on the US health care sector has been cited by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and several industry publications (e.g., Health Leaders).

In his career, Neil has been a system leader and senior advisor to health system leaders and boards. Neil was the Chief Strategy Officer for LifeBridge Health, a $2billion+ integrated health care delivery system in Maryland with over 400 employed providers and assets across the entire continuum of care. In that role, Neil had wide-ranging responsivities, including helping lead the clinically integrated physician network which had one of the highest ACO savings in the country for several years, launched the first in the nation, offshore command center, the first bioincubator inside a community hospital in the country and new patient engagement technologies aimed at some of the most socio-economically patient populations in the country.

Neil also spent a decade at leading consulting firms. Neil’s clients included Kaiser Permanente, Sisters of Mercy Health System, Steward, UnityPoint, Trinity, Dana Farber, the Military Health System, Montefiore, and the University of Virginia among many others.  

Prior to entering consulting after business school, Neil focused on global reengineering, financial analysis and process improvement at GE and American Express. Neil has a Master’s Degree in business from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s in Business from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Neil has served on various state task forces related to Health System planning, taught at John’s Hopkins Carey School of Business and has been published papers on technology transformation in forums such as Digital Biomarkers and AMA Journal of Ethics.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/neil-carpenter-924a40/

Array Advisors

We understand that asking the right questions positively affects your Health System’s goals. Our purpose is to ask the questions that turn your goals into tangible realities. Array Advisors has the expertise to help position your organization for success in tomorrow’s uncertain market. As your trusted partners in Strategy Development, Organizational Transformation, and Building Informatics, we can help you solve strategic business problems and develop methods to improve efficiency and utilization. We approach each problem from a unique angle, providing a plan tailored to help you overcome your toughest challenges. Having dedicated our careers to healthcare innovation, our objective viewpoint and industry-wide knowledge provide you the decision support you need.

Links and Resources


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The #HCBiz Show! is produced by Glide Health IT, LLC in partnership with Netspective Media.

Music by StudioEtar