Do Better, Do Different and Have an Opinion: 20 Years of Health Care Strategy at Sg2

Nearly 16 years ago, I made the fortuitous choice to join a small but mighty team of health care change agents at a company called Sg2. In a conference room in Skokie, IL, Sg2’s founder, the late Michael Sachs, addressed a team of about 20 new hires (representing about 20 percent of the rapidly growing company) with what I came to understand was his everyday passion: health care and our need to not only foment change for our growing membership but to also do better and “do different.” The words he used still resonate today, as he demanded that—above and before everything else—we have an opinion. An opinion on what is right; on what we can, and should, change; and on how to help health care leaders do different given the changes he saw coming, even when others didn’t, which included many in that room!

Sg2 got its start 4 years prior to my first day, in 2001, which means we’re celebrating our 20th birthday this year. And like any 20-year-old, we continue to change and adapt and grow. When we began, those opinions Michael asked us to have were focused on the factors impacting change at the time: when, why and where to adopt new clinical technologies. Sg2 was even named Sachs Technologies at one point! However, the health care landscape changed, and thus, so did we—adding clinical staff, payment experts, and new capabilities and tools to generate and share our perspectives on the next set of new changes we saw coming: from sites of care and value-based care to our Systems of CARE and leading-edge service line planning.

Bill Woodson, Senior Principal, Sg2 quote

But despite Sg2’s continuous evolvement over the past 2 decades, what hasn’t changed is the importance we place on having an opinion—on what matters, on how to do better and do different, and on embracing change and innovation—and then sharing that opinion with our members so they, in turn, can effect change in their organizations and in their communities. Sg2 is proud of what we’ve accomplished these last 20 years! Here are some of the highlights:

Sg2 highlights timeline

And while we got more than a few things right, there were also some things we may not have hit the mark on—at least not right away or perhaps even not yet. Payment evolution has been slower than we anticipated. Something we may not have admitted in the early 2000s, but may acknowledge now, is that the reimbursement system is in the middle of a multiyear transformation that’s not going to happen quickly. We projected that clinical labor shortages would bring about productivity gains—and while workforce has become a major challenge in the health care industry, the productivity gains have not been realized. And who remembers our prediction of tailoring care to four patient types (elective, complex critical, occasional, perpetual)? While the idea wasn’t exactly wrong, it has been difficult to break away from the traditional model of primary care. However, looking back on these, it is okay if our predictions weren’t exactly correct—we were challenging ourselves to be bold, think big, think long-term—and when we are wrong, it pushes our thinking even further in terms of what is possible. And we continue to stand by the Sg2 brand of being forward thinking and challenging our members.

Steve Jenkins, Senior Advisor, Sg2 quote

Today, Sg2 comprises more than 200 dedicated employees and supports nearly 300 members that span 2,500+ hospitals and health care systems, from academic medical centers and integrated delivery networks to market-leading community hospitals and innovative suppliers. So…what comes next for us? We build from where we started—but we also take it much further, for our members and with our members. Because to remain relevant in our market, our job is to help our members remain relevant in their markets, as those markets continue evolve with new competitors, collaborators, funders and disrupters, and many combinations thereof. We do that by tracking trends, sharing our perspective, and building tools and methodologies that capture and quantify where health care is headed. Relevance is enabling growth and performance via digital health solutions to meet evolving consumer needs, aligning longer-term strategies with real-time channel management to engage those consumers, and differentiating services via an aligned and understood physician enterprise to deliver the clinical care in the right setting at the right time. Our members’ future relevance is our current focus: here’s to the next 20 years!

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