Thursday, April 21, 2011

BU MBAs investigate mergers

I have mentioned before the pleasure of living in a city like Boston, with its many colleges and universities, and which therefore provides numerous opportunities to interact with students. Whether they are undergraduates or graduate students, they offer the chance to test one's own assumptions and observations in front of a fresh audience. I always learn something and hope that I can impart something useful as well.

I just finished a great conversation with three students in the Boston University MBA program -- Emily Jochim, Emily Mulligan, and Bill Bruce (seen here.)* The three are taking a class on transformational change in the health sector. They have a final group project, which includes a paper and presentation related to change within an organization. They chose to focus on the role of the senior leader in an organization undergoing a merger. In addition to me, they interviewed Charlie Baker, former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Elaine Ullian, former CEO of Boston Medical Center; and Tim Murphy, President of Beacon Health Strategies.

I am looking forward to the paper, but I could see that a major conclusion reached already is that a successful merger is more likely when the CEO adopts a policy of transparency and engagement across the organization. It sounds pretty simple, but it is often not done, leaving the merged organization less capable and successful that might otherwise be possible.

* They work at Shire HGT, Tufts Health Plan, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, respectively.


Barry Carol said...

I remember former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, saying on several occasions that having the right person in a key spot in an organization can make a significant difference in how it performs. That’s especially true in cases where cultural change is needed.

Medical Quack said...

Mergers and acquisitions are a hot topic as you look at what has changed just in the last 2 years and companies don't operate the same as they did a short while back. I cover a lot of that information especially with insurers as a couple just last year had some huge acquisitions and model changes.

When I read the news with judges and their decisions rendered and then the next day we see someone who came up with a conflict of interest, that spells it out clearly as the company they have owned stock in for 20 years all of a sudden has a new business model, based on acquisitions and merging of IT infrastructures, aka business intelligence.

I know we hear that all over the news today but it's there and who knows data addiction may end up being our next 12 step program before it's all said and done:)

If you take the case of insurer United as an example, huge changes and renaming of divisions and sometimes it's hard to correctly follow the daisy chain of their subsidiaries of their subsidiaries/

One acquisition depending on the business can change an entire business model and we see that happen all the time with again algorithmic business models that change and our current law making system can't keep up with. I hope that changes a bit in all industries as I don't want to be going to the movies to watch a sequel to the move "Inside Job" anytime soon:) These folks even get patents on their software/algorithmic formulas as well.

I did a post on the United first quarter and clearly the CEO states that their formerly known Ingenix division, now OptumInsight was their shining star. This division is code and analytics only that create formulas to govern policies and risk assessments for coverage and payment, but also the same company Andrew Cuomo targeted and won a suit against with out of network formulas used, so yes it pays to pay attention to what is happening. We also have Aetna in the Health IT business now too in a larger way with HIE, again due to an acquisition so the world is changing and who knows we might see insurers buying up medical record companies next as it seems like potential logical next move to have the entire package in one, and is somewhat scary.

I don't agree with all that occurs and again talk about the fact that losing ethics in a lot of this is hurting us big time and it's the behind the scenes activities that run 24/7 while we as humans still need sleep that allows a lot of this to be missed or recognized.

This all happens so fast today with extreme intelligence and sometimes the marketing gets in the way too with not always allowing a clear picture.