Reframing Healthcare: Author Zeev Neuwirth, MD Shares Perspectives on Humanizing Health Care

October 22, 2019

// By Jane Weber Brubaker //

Jane Weber BrubakerThe experience of health care often falls short for the most important stakeholders in health care — patients and the clinicians who serve them. Are health care leaders stuck trying to reengineer a fundamentally flawed system? Is reframing a way to unlock the potential?

Dr. Zeev Neuwirth, author of Reframing Healthcare

Dr. Zeev Neuwirth, author of Reframing Healthcare

Dr. Zeev Neuwirth, author of Reframing Healthcare, spoke to a packed room of marketing leaders at SHSMD Connections 2019 in September. For those who attended, it was a refreshing break to hear a physician explain why adopting a “marketing mindset” is essential to transforming health care. (Finally, a clinician who “gets” us and values us!)

The concept of the marketing mindset as defined by Dr. Neuwirth goes way beyond what we typically think of as marketing. Instead, he sees it as a way to actually change the delivery of health care: “My ‘Steve Jobs moment’ was the moment when I realized that we could use the fundamental principles, tools, and techniques of marketing to better understand our patients as people, and to use that knowledge to redesign health care delivery — and the industry itself — to become more humanistic and value-laden.”

“The health care system should view the people coming to it as VIP customers, consumers, and clients, and focus its energies, efforts, and outcomes entirely on them,” he says.

But the way health care is currently structured does not support a customer-focused framework. To lift health care out of entrenched delivery and business models that no longer work, Neuwirth introduces the “Reframe Roadmap,” a guide to transforming the current situation. His overarching vision is to “reorient health care to fundamentally and radically improve how consumers purchase, utilize, experience, and benefit from health care.”

We reached out to him to discuss why some organizations have been able to reframe to a customer orientation, and others opt to stay the course. We also discussed primary care — what he terms “the broken backbone” of the health care system — and why it might be the best place to start reframing care delivery.

An edited version of our conversation follows.

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