'Potent Medicine' Delivers a Treatment Plan for U.S. Healthcare

April 4, 2012

Sequel to On the Mend Focuses on Transparency and Payment Changes

We’re excited to announce the launch of Potent Medicine: The Collaborative Cure for Healthcare, the latest title from award-winning author Dr. John Toussaint of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value.

Potent Medicine, now available at createvalue.org, outlines the essential framework for redesigning America’s healthcare system. The framework includes three elements: transparency of quality and cost data, paying providers for outcomes, and care designed around the patient. You can get a sneak peek with our executive summary.

In his hard-charging debut, On the Mend, Dr. Toussaint introduced readers to the efforts of ThedaCare, a five-hospital system in northeastern Wisconsin, to redesign healthcare delivery through lean transformation. The book recently earned the prestigious Shingo Research Award for its impact on the industry’s operational excellence. Yet care delivery, as described in On the Mend, is only one side of the game. Potent Medicine focuses on two additional components: payment and transparency.

The book includes eye-opening accounts from the physicians and system leaders who stood on the frontlines during the development of Wisconsin’s most innovative healthcare organizations, and from the patients they’re trying to help. It further examines the importance of conducting similar experiments in every state in our country.

Change is bearing down fast on healthcare in the United States. Potent Medicine shares the insights and tools leaders need to not only anticipate and adapt to that change, but to lead it.

Specifically, Potent Medicine:

  • Sets the context for why a systemic overhaul is needed.
  • Encourages solutions that are designed at the state level, to better address local health needs.
  • Defines true transparency and explains its necessity for patient well-being, decision-making and process improvement.
  • Explains why provider perspectives must shift from profit centers based on body part or condition, to incentives that lead to preventive overall care.
  • Provides a comparison of global payment vs. fee-for-service models.
  • Offers real-world examples of provider partnerships with local employers, as well as advice on how to structure similar experiments.
  • Cites sample frameworks for global or bundled payment models, for preventive, chronic and acute care conditions.
  • Addresses the impact of provider shortages and reimbursement concerns.
  • Provides examples of how to apply lean methods like value-stream mapping to the patient experience.
  • Discusses why conversations about end-of-life care must be part of value-based health care.
  • Examines the realignment of current laws to encourage competition through collaboration, not consolidation.
  • Emphasizes the need for ongoing experimentation to test new payment structures.

Dr. Toussaint continues the tradition of honest, practical storytelling that he began in On the Mend, and uses it to explain the deep challenges, stumbling blocks and unexpected triumphs on the road toward a healthcare industry that delivers better quality at much lower cost.

There is no simple or single answer to achieving this future state, but the book offers a path on which we can start. It is a call to action for leaders across the nation to join ongoing experiments, learn from them and adjust current methods.

To supplement the book, the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value is developing an online information hub of experiment outcomes. This hub will help build the body of knowledge necessary to prescribe new and better treatments for healthcare.

Advance Praise for Potent Medicine

"A candid, riveting discussion of the brave work underway in Wisconsin to deliver more efficient and effective healthcare."

—Leonard Berry, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Texas A&M University and co-author of Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic

"Dr. John Toussaint is an action-taking revolutionary. As a real leader, not a theorist, he has proven it is possible to vastly improve medical care outcomes while reducing costs."

—Paul H. O’Neill, 72nd U.S. Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Alcoa


Potent Medicine

- By John Toussaint, MD
- 184 pages
- $30.00 (Hardcover)
- To purchase the book, review the executive summary or read testimonials, visit createvalue.org.

About the Author

Dr. John Toussaint is the founder and CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, the CEO Emeritus of ThedaCare and the author of On the Mend.

ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value

The ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value brings together the most thoughtful leaders in business and healthcare to drive value-based healthcare. Working collaboratively with providers and purchasers, the Center identifies the best examples of revolutionary thinking in healthcare delivery, payment and transparency. The end result is greater value for patients and purchasers.