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Driving Results Through Strategy and Performance Improvement

COPE Health Solutions has named Michael Zaccagnino as an executive vice president. In his new role, Mr. Zaccagnino will work with health systems, medical centers, physician organizations, and health plans on strategy development and execution and performance improvement, with a special focus on population health. He also will oversee business development and project delivery for COPE Health Solutions in the Northeast.

“Mike brings a true passion for healthcare and has extensive experience in helping organizations achieve desired results. Like COPE Health Solutions, he focuses on developing and implementing transformative strategies and programs that drive excellence, growth, and market relevance to help clients and their communities,” says Allen Miller, CEO and founder of COPE Health Solutions. “We are very pleased to welcome Mike to our senior management team.”

Prior to joining COPE Health Solutions, Mr. Zaccagnino operated Lucania Partners, Inc., a health care consulting practice that specialized in enabling results-based change for clients, including Hazelden (Betty Ford) Foundation, US Invest (Beijing-US Friendship Medical Center), Covenant Health System, Montefiore Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Health, Yale School of Medicine, and others. Zaccagnino also served as a corporate officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Mr. Zaccagnino holds a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of Rochester and master of health services administration from the University of Michigan. He completed his training at Henry Ford Health System and Baystate Health and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Medical Group Management Associates.  He is lead board director of FundLove, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping cancer patients and families.

Mr. Zaccagnino shares his thoughts on driving results through strategy design and execution as well as performance improvement.

  1. With so much unknown regarding healthcare policy, how should healthcare organizations approach developing strategies amidst these uncertain times?

When approaching strategy development, we often suggest that organizations consider that the current pluralistic payment environment is likely here to stay, making it critical to address both value and volume in the organization’s strategic vision and plan, as well as in its organizational structures and talent development. We also find it useful to keep the patient front-and-center throughout the planning process. Prioritizing efforts to increase value and scale market presence will almost always advance the organization.


  1. What are the best ways for healthcare organizations to ensure that they are able to execute and deliver on their strategies?

To help organizations execute and achieve desired results, it’s essential for them to have a high performing organization. During the pre-implementation stage it is important to assess whether the organization’s talent is configured in a manner that enables execution. Similarly, organizations should also assess the depth of talent available to deliver and sustain progress. Implementation is considered a “team sport” by many, so organizations with high-performing teams, well defined management systems and established project tracking and performance reporting systems tend to do better over time.


  1. How can healthcare organizations improve patient access and build capacity to make room for more “value patients” as they move to taking on more risk for their population?

The most significant opportunities continue to lie in the area of clinical practice and care management. Eliminating “bottle-necks” across the continuum and reducing variations in practice patterns will improve patient flow and create new capacity, as will utilizing clinical extenders to expand PCP capacity and leveraging technologies, including e-consult and e-prescription solutions. Additionally, organizations can continue to sponsor work aimed at shifting our programmatic focus from one that has traditionally been treatment-centric to one that prioritizes prevention and wellness, as means for reducing disease burden generally.


  1. How can organizations evolve performance improvement to look at both cost and quality together for a population health management initiative?

Performance improvement, as a discipline, has evolved to the point where there is no shortage of methods, tools, and approaches available to address value, that is, cost and quality together. We find that the most important factors in improving value are culture and mind-set. Organizations that work to pursue excellence, inclusive of excellence in population health management, typically outperform those that see quality and cost as distinct challenges. Those with “powerful” cultures establish clear values, set performance expectations, rely on robust talent systems to align physicians and staff, and make continuous improvement central to their work.


  1. What’s the biggest challenge to launching a performance improvement program?

For many c-level executives the biggest challenge lies in helping front-line leaders understand that utilizing performance improvement support is not a sign of failure or an abdication of responsibility. For executives the biggest challenge is establishing a robust performance reporting and analytics function, and adequately embedding reporting and analytics in the organization’s management system. Given the industry’s financial picture, another challenge is convincing leadership that investing in a performance improvement program will return results, in the form of sustained improvements.


For more information on driving results through strategy design and execution as well as performance improvement, please contact info@copehealthsolutions.com. 

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