Michael Cacchio, MBA, MPH'15Consultant, Bain & Company, Boston See Michael's Profile
Akanksha Karwar, MPH’13Senior Consultant at GE Healthcare See Akanksha's Profile
As a consultant and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Jennifer Strahan has helped over 100 health systems and businesses optimize their operational, financial, and clinical processes. Fueled by a passion to help organizations optimize their healthcare delivery methods to drive meaningful change for patients, Strahan credits her time at Dartmouth for shaping her career in consulting.
In one of her classes she collaborated with Tuck students on a consulting project for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) to optimize outpatient throughput. They analyzed room utilization, appointment demand versus scheduling capacity, and staffing alignment. “I also co-led a class project with Cooley Dickinson Health Care in Massachusetts to improve their CHF (congestive heart failure) Emergency Department admission process,” Strahan says. “These projects gave me a taste of the diversity and pace of consulting to figure out that it was what I wanted to do with my career.”
Strahan’s career has since propelled her into leadership roles as system executive director of Lean Six Sigma and performance improvement for WellStar Health System in Marietta, Georgia; and director of Lean Six Sigma consulting services for VHA Georgia (now Vizient MidSouth), a membership alliance for non-profit healthcare providers. Today she is the chief operations officer for SOAR Vision Group, which specializes in helping healthcare, education, and small business organizations achieve their strategic objectives. She also serves as president of J. Osley & Company, a Lean Six Sigma consulting firm.
Strahan's line of work has connected her with different organizations around the country that are on the cutting edge of innovating healthcare delivery.
“To be successful in healthcare, we need to shift our thinking outside the box,” Strahan says. “How do we keep patients healthy and out of the hospital, yet optimize our processes for a meaningful experience when they have to be admitted?”
Strahan has observed firsthand a variety of new initiatives including projects on engaging paramedics to follow up on high-risk patients in the community when they are not responding to emergency calls, optimizing outpatient flow to more than double a clinical team’s productivity with less hours worked each week, and integrating leading technologies into clinical practice. “However, keeping people out of the hospital means less volume and inpatient reimbursement. With the payment reimbursement models, it’s hard to convince some organizations to take a short-term dip in revenue even though it might be a long-term beneficial opportunity,” Strahan says.
The need to improve health and healthcare inspires Strahan to take her career to a level higher. She’s currently working on her Executive Doctor of Science (DSc) in Healthcare Leadership at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“This program expands on the knowledge I gained at Dartmouth and maintains direct relevance to practical operations,” Strahan says. “It opens up new opportunities potentially within teaching, research, or policy in the future, but I will always stay connected to operational delivery because my passion is driving change that benefits patients.”
"Nearly a decade after graduating from The Dartmouth Institute, my classmates are some of my closest friends and the colleagues I turn to for guidance or advice whenever I need it – you really develop lifelong friends and resources here. You can contact them at any point and say, ‘Hey, we came across this problem or issue and thought you would have some insight into it.’ There’s a lot of value in being part of this deeply connected community."