Medical Today, America’s authoritative newsletter for medical tourism, interviewed well-known industry figure Stewart Schaffer, to find out more about his background, the company CSuite Solutions, and the role that it has to play in future of healthcare in America.
Stewart Schaffer, along with co-founder Stephen R. Mason and their four other partners, work as direct contractors for healthcare systems. Since co-founding CSuite Solutions, one of the major areas of opportunity that Schaffer has identified for the healthcare industry is that of customer satisfaction.
By drawing on his experience and successes working for Club Corporation of America, he feels confident that he can apply some of the same methodologies to encourage healthcare providers to embrace this hospitality concept. He believes that it is vital to equip employees to put the customer at the center of care, because in the healthcare industry, it’s all about the customer experience. In doing this, many healthcare providers have seen improvements in overall satisfaction scores.
One of the major barriers to customer satisfaction in healthcare that Schaffer has identified is how it is financed. This, he says, is the root of all inefficiencies and is the reason that healthcare is so expensive. Because insurance companies work as intermediaries between customers and healthcare companies, there is a lack of free enterprise market forces. This means that customers are unable to select the best healthcare at the most affordable prices.
Healthcare is Local, Not National
Schaffer refers to recent research that they have conducted, interviewing cancer patients about their willingness to travel. The majority, even those with stage 4 cancer, wanted to be close to home primarily so that they could be near their family. In fact, patients were unwilling to travel further than 10 miles to receive treatment unless they were living in a rural location.
The concept of medical tourism, therefore, is a symptom of the disfunction that healthcare finance brings to the equation. It exists because the healthcare industry is not governed by the normal economic forces of supply and demand.
For a sizable healthcare organization, it should be possible to provide good care at the same price, or lower than it would cost if the patient were to travel outside the local area for treatment. This is especially the case when taking into account the costs of air travel and accommodation for both the patient and family members. It is arbitrage opportunities like this, where the forces of supply and demand are not functioning properly, that have created an opportunity for medical tourism.
However, while medical tourism is growing, it only makes up a tiny fraction of total healthcare spending, largely due to the fact that there are serious obstacles to uptake by a larger percentage of patients.
About Stewart Shaffer
Stewart Schaffer is a co-founder and managing partner of CSuite Solutions with experience in healthcare, retail and hospitality. He has worked in these industries as a senior strategy and business development executive for over 25 years. In particular, he has experience in the areas of strategic planning, organizational structure, business intelligence and product and service development, among others.
About CSuite Solutions
CSuite Solutions is a strategic advisory firm serving health system leaders across the United States. They have some of the country’s most senior and accomplished health care industry executives on board. The partners at CSuite Solutions have long careers that focus on the transformation of hospitals and major health care systems as well as physician groups and providers.
CSuite Solutions was formed as a response to the growing need for strategic insights and fresh solutions to the issues faced by healthcare systems. The national strategic advisory firm works alongside industry leaders to offer healthcare consulting, healthcare revenue cycle management as well as advising on clinical integration and patient-centered care.