How to make a business case for lifestyle medicine

November 01, 2023

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Keynote speeches:

  • A lifestyle medicine business plan will be successful if it is timely, specific, and aligned with the organization’s goals.
  • Argue that lifestyle medicine can recoup costs and improve patient health.

DENVER – The lifestyle medicine model makes good business sense, but you need a business plan to make a logical decision for your organization, a speaker said here.

“If we can eliminate what’s happening in our system, we can save money. We can do it better. We can provide some cost-effective care,” he said Lisa Mauch, MBA, DipACLM, Program Director of Lifestyle Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “Healthcare organizations have built a business model based on short-term goals … Existing systems have interdependent processes that are difficult to change.”

Lisa Mauch, MBA, DipACLM, “Being strategic is as important as being persistent” in pursuing a lifestyle medicine model, he told the Lifestyle Medicine Conference audience. Photo: Joan-Marie Stiglich/Healio

Mauch, who says he’s in the lifestyle medicine business, laid out clear steps on how to create a lifestyle medicine business plan even before he had a name for what he was doing.

“It takes time,” Mauch emphasized to the audience. “To affect a system that is so tightly interconnected … you have to come up with small tests of change with a small question, demonstrate success, and then … consistently affect change.”

When he asked the audience about barriers to lifestyle medicine programs and interventions, the audience shared: bureaucracy, time, stakeholders (competing priorities), lack of insurers, skepticism, and organizational structure.

Before creating a business plan, Mauch suggested doing some preliminary research, including identifying and talking to stakeholders. During conversations with stakeholders, get them to identify pain points and see if your solution is “part of the existing system.” He suggested exploring potential partners in cardiac rehabilitation, type 2 diabetes care, cancer care, or diabetes or other disease prevention.

Then put together a think tank, uncover overlapping priorities, and “position lifestyle medicine as a solution,” he said. However, Mauch stressed not to leave the meeting without identifying solutions and committing to shared goals. He also offered some practical advice: make the meeting at least 2 hours, know that it may take 2-3 months to actually schedule the meeting, and present it as “you’re being invited to the table to do some critical thinking and innovative planning.” .”

There will often be an enthusiastic response and infectious energy.

“If we can provide a standard of care, we can improve the health of the patients we serve and reduce costs … everybody wins,” he said.

When creating a business plan, Mauch said, keep your pitch concise, confident, specific, justify the request and direct them to a logical decision point. Be sure to emphasize “how it’s different” and include measurable results.

Include current costs of care in your cost analysis (by reviewing the literature); potential cost savings; avoid any potential costs; the proposed cost of the intervention; and return on investment, Mauch said.

And what is the opportunity? Improve the patient’s health; provide cost-effective care; gain patient loyalty; performance of the offer provider; and build the organization for the future.

“We can recoup the cost of care when we recover the disease,” Mauch said. “Being strategic is just as important as being persistent.”


Don’t fall


Mauch L. Building your tailored business case for lifestyle medicine: A template for success. Presented at: Lifestyle Medicine Conference; October 29-November. 1, 2023; Denver.

Disclosures: Mauch reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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