Jean Mixer has been guiding Boston Children’s Hospital into the digital future for the past seven years, so she was more than prepared when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and suddenly everyone was forced to go remote. I first met Jean at Boston Consulting Group in the 1990s when she led growth strategy projects in healthcare, financial services and consumer goods. We stayed in touch and reunited five years ago when Health Business Group helped Jean put the Children’s digital strategy in place.
In this episode of the HealthBiz podcast, Jean traces her journey from JP Morgan to BCG to her own consulting practice and then to Boston Children’s. She shares her experience as a director of public companies in biotech, medical devices, and banking. And she explains what she’d do if she had a time machine.
I was driving along in Boston last weekend when I heard an intriguing radio advertisement for MassGeneral Hospital for Children, the pediatric division of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
MGH is a world famous hospital, but when it comes to pediatrics it’s much smaller, less well known, and lower ranked than Boston Children’s Hospital –the #1 rated children’s hospital by US News.
I thought MGH picked a clever angle for the ad: highlighting a patient with Crohn’s disease who was diagnosed at age 10 and is now an adult. The message: illnesses that occur in childhood may need ongoing care into adulthood. Therefore why not start with a hospital that cares for children and adults? Boston Children’s isn’t mentioned, but it’s the clear target.
The Crohn’s example is not accidental. It’s a fast growing illness among kids, and it lasts for life. I don’t have the data but my sense is that it must be a highly profitable line of business for hospitals because of the frequent surgeries, endoscopy, and use of biologic drugs. (I would have been surprised if they had uses a common but non-lucrative disease like diabetes.)
The transition from a pediatric to adult gastroenterologist is an important step on the patient journey. A bad transition can be stressful and even lead to worse health outcomes. I’d be interested to learn what processes MGH has in place to make the transition smoother for its patients than what Children’s can offer. (I’ll have to research that.) It’s also unclear how highly to weigh this factor when choosing a place for a child to be treated, especially if that child might move away for and after college.
I don’t want to sound too cynical on this. In my own experience, I’ve seen physicians from Children’s and MGH –including in gastroenterology– collaborate closely to help one another’s patients. If you have a child with inflammatory bowel disease and live near Boston, count your blessings.