Jul 26, 2020
Today’s guest is Nicki Tessler (Psy.D, MBA) the Divisional Vice President for Behavioral Health at Universal Health Services (UHS) where she provides senior-level leadership for multiple hospitals across multiple stages for UHS. She joins us to talk about innovation in the behavioral health space and how UHS is leading the way with their “Innovation Hub” that supports behavioral health entrepreneurship.
Nicki is an extremely accomplished, and experienced Behavioral
Health Executive with an impressive 20-year career in the space
that began in Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital, leading to
Hospital Corporation of America and now Universal Health
At UHS, Nicki has led the charge on innovation within the Behavioral Health Division by developing the “Innovation Hub” internally which promotes entrepreneurship in order to drive growth within the UHS business through innovation, speed, and urgency.
Nicki has stellar academic credentials which include her Psy.D. in Psychology from the University of Denver; Executive M.B.A. in Health Sector Management & Policy from the University of Miami; and M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. She’s also earned designations as a Licensed Psychologist and Six Sigma Champion.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS WE TALKED ABOUT:
1. Nicki gave us an overview of UHS with some facts about the business including:
-Founded in 1979, now a Fortune 500 (ranked 281)
-2019 Revenue $11.4 billion
-Headquarters: King of Prussia, PA
-26 acute care hospitals
-328 behavioral health hospitals
-42 outpatient facilities
-Operates in 37 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom
-In 2019, they served 3.5mm patients across acute and behavioral health
2. How does UHS think about innovation in the behavioral space?
UHS realizes a need for innovation in the behavioral space and is in a very unique position because of the data, experience, knowledge, and exposure they have as one of the largest operators of inpatient psychiatric facilities in the world. UHS is focused on fostering innovation in the space and has built and “Innovation Hub” to encourage entrepreneurs to build in the space, to interact with UHS and approach UHS about partnership.
3. How do we innovate in behavioral health without hurting people, but still going fast?
Nicki talks about how a methodical systematic approach is needed that is sensitive to the fragile nature of healthcare. At UHS, they look at innovation in a very systematic way which Nicki highlights in our conversation. UHS focuses on innovations that can drive major shifts in one of these areas:
4. What is the “Innovation Hub”?
In August they launched the Innovation Hub, which is an innovation ecosystem where UHS supports a culture of innovation balanced with discipline to develop test and grow new solutions outside of the traditional internal UHS processes. The hub has 3 primary goals which include operating within the behavioral health division, growing the business, and promoting entrepreneurship while attracting talent.
5. How does it work?
Entrepreneurs approach UHS and present an idea for innovation. They are paired with a UHS facility to run a 90 day pilot / beta. At the end of the pilot, outcomes are assessed and if the metrics are good, then UHS begins to scale the solution across more locations. Success is determined by a proprietary internal ROI calculator.
6. What makes it through the filter into the
Nicki explains the three areas of innovation that are most exciting to the team at UHS. These are:
7. What would you build if you could build anything to
help humans with mental health?
Nicki talks about how her dream solution would be an “Imperfection Lab” where people are encouraged and allowed to feel vulnerable and where imperfections could be celebrated.
8. How does an entrepreneur get in touch with
Reach out to Nicki and brainstorm what a pilot could look like internally.