Coordinated Health Takes Consumer-Oriented Approach to Health Care
By Colin McEvoy on March 17, 2015
The Lehigh Valley is rich with high-quality hospitals and large health care networks. But that doesn’t mean Coordinated Health doesn’t have a significant and important role to play.
The fastest growing health care provider in the region, Coordinated Health has over 100 physicians and roughly 1,500 employees in total focused on a variety of health care specialties, which they provide from 17 facilities throughout eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey.
Dr. Emil Dilorio, founder and CEO of Coordinated Health and an accomplished orthopedic surgeon, thinks the large tertiary care centers in the Lehigh Valley are excellent, but that a great deal of health care doesn’t need to come from centers like these.
“When I started doing knee replacements, they were only done in a few large academic centers; the procedure took several hours and you were in the hospital for at least two weeks,” Dilorio said.
“What that patient was looking for as what I call a functionality that’s just good enough: ‘I’ll take it,’” he said. “But then as the technology of the knee replacement improved, the definition of quality when from functionality to that of reliability.”
Coordinated Health has made a practice of listening to its patients about how to deliver the services they are seeking, rather than simply trying to limit those services to a certain way. They advocate a consumer-oriented approach that delivers what the patient wants: convenience, speed and easy access from decentralized locations.
“One of the most important things we’ve done here is to try and listen carefully to what our patients wanted, not what we wanted to sell them,” Dilorio said.
Coordinated Health has been expanding in recent years, and expects to continue its growth with three more campuses slated in the next two years, according to company President Jim Tsokanos. In the Lehigh Valley, a Bethlehem Township campus on Emrick Blvd. opened in late July, and a new 12-bed transition unit on Cedar Crest Blvd. in Allentown opened in January. Additionally, a new 10-acre Phillipsburg campus is planned to open in August.
The company offers more than 20 health care service lines, musculoskeletal, joint replacement, spine and back, podiatry, cardiology, primary care, women’s health, six walk-in clinics and its two biggest specialties: orthopedics and sports medicine.
Coordinated Health was founded in 1988 with a focus on orthopedics and sports medicine, serving as team physicians for Lehigh University, Lafayette College, and Moravian College athletics, as well as more than 30 high schools. Sports medicine still makes up a large part of its services today, with more than 18 fellowship trained sports medicine surgeons, over 50 athletic trainers and more than 100 physical therapists.
Dilorio said Coordinated Health believes strongly in reducing complexity and producing simplicity, which leads to higher quality and reduced costs. The company defines value in three key ways, he said: affordability, quality and access.
“The way value is defined in health care and the way value is defined in other industries is no different. There are always, always these three basic components,” Dilorio said. “Whenever you have complexity, your first job if you’re going to produce value is to start finding ways to reduce the complexity.”
For the past two decades, Coordinated Health has studied in detail not only the health care industry, but other industries that have gone through major transformations, studying what challenges and victories they have had and how they’ve produced innovation and change, Dilorio said.
Looking at health care from a consumerism perspective, the way in which patients have sought health care has changed, Tsokanos. About 55 percent of people under 45 don’t even have a primary care provider, he said, as most young people simply go to urgent care when they need health care.
“Many people today are buying health care in the same way they buy music,” Tsokanos said.
Coordinated Health provides physical therapy for post-surgery patients and partners with primary care physicians for follow-up care. It also partners with local companies to provide medical services – both in orthopedics and general health care – which helps the companies keep costs of medical benefits down.
The health care industry has seen a great deal of consolidation with the passage Affordable Care Act. But, as Tsokanos notes, consolidation won’t provide better quality or lower costs, so Coordinated Health takes an entirely different strategy when it comes to growing and working in this new regulatory environment. This includes providing high-quality and access, at a better cost structure and value, which is very important to employers.
“One of the things that we’ve done now for a number of years, but especially the last five years, is increased our efforts to help employers manage the health care of their employees,” Dilorio said. “For me personally I find it very, very exciting. Why? Because ultimately you’ve got to have somebody that can really shake it up, and (employers) are the group that can really make a difference.”
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