Dr. Kevin Tabb fell into medicine through his training as a medic in the Israel Defense Forces, and after medical school and a five year residency, he soon entered the world of healthcare IT. As president & CEO of the newly-formed Beth Israel Lahey Health system, this diverse background gives him a unique perspective to navigate the constantly-changing healthcare landscape where technology continues to play an increasing role.
Dr. Tabb now has a prominent position in the greater Boston area’s storied history of driving healthcare innovation. He’s leading the region’s second-largest health system – including 4,000 physicians and 35,000 employees across academic medical centers, community, and specialty hospitals – formed by the March 2019 merger of the Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Health systems, along with Anna Jaques, Mount Auburn and New England Baptist Hospitals.
Creating a single and cohesive point of care will be one of the most important attributes of a successful health system in the future, according to Dr. Tabb. The dynamics of delivering on this promise are especially acute as health systems across the country merge, and it’s a key focus at Beth Israel Lahey Health.
During this episode of Healthcare Is Hard, recorded live on stage at the Digital Health Innovation Summit, Dr. Tabb talks to Keith Figlioli about a number of issues critical to delivering on his vision for a successful, modern health system, including:
- The Build vs. Buy Debate. When it comes to partnerships with new entrants in the healthcare market, new technologies, or other aspects of running a next gen health system, working with third-parties and bringing everything together makes it more difficult to create a cohesive organization. That’s why Dr. Tabb’s preference is to explore internal development first, a luxury large and growing health systems are more likely to have the resources to accomplish. But he recognizes the reality, knowing when and how to investigate if a third party brings something unique that would be too complex to develop in-house.
- Solutions Looking for Problems. With a background in health IT, Dr. Tabb is approached almost daily by various companies and investors and says the majority of what he sees comes from people offering niche solutions to small problems. Unless a solution is focused on the larger challenges associated with helping the different aspects of a health system come together and operate more cohesively, he’s much less likely to be interested.
- Evolving Access Points for Care. The way people access care is rapidly changing. Dr. Tabb compares this shift to the emergence of digital photos and Kodak’s failure to adapt because revenues from film and chemicals weren’t impacted at first. Kodak failed to realize soon enough that pictures can be made in many different ways. And to avoid a similar fate, traditional health systems need to quickly recognize the many different ways and different places care can and should be delivered. They need to adapt and deliver the seamless and unified experience that patients are starting to demand.
- Differences Between the U.S. and Europe. As someone who grew up in California, but served in the military, went to medical school, and did his residency in Israel, Dr. Tabb is frequently asked for his opinion on the biggest differences between U.S. and European healthcare. He points to the lack of a single system of care, and talks about how critical it is to figure out a new approach so people don’t fall through the cracks – especially when they’re sick and most vulnerable.
Ultimately, the one question Dr. Tabb pushes his team to ask above all others is whether or not their decisions will make a difference in peoples’ lives. He says that’s the most important thing to consider and measure, and that’s how Beth Israel Lahey Health will know in five years if the merger was successful.
To hear Dr. Tabb talk about these topics and more, listen to this episode of Healthcare is Hard: A Podcast for Insiders.
Kevin Tabb, MD
President & CEO
Beth Israel Lahey Health
As President and Chief Executive Officer of Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH), Kevin Tabb, MD, is responsible for leading a comprehensive integration plan among the BILH member organizations to effectively deliver on the promise to offer patients and their families better and broader access to extraordinary individualized care. Previously, Kevin was the Chief Executive Officer of the Beth Israel Deaconess system and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).
Before coming to BIDMC, Kevin was Chief Medical Officer at Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Stanford, California. There, he had broad strategic and operational responsibilities, which included physician network strategy, clinical quality and patient safety initiatives, regulatory and medical staff affairs, and graduate and continuing medical education. He was previously Chief Quality and Medical Information Officer at Stanford. Prior to joining Stanford, Kevin led the Clinical Data Service Division of GE Healthcare IT.
Raised in Berkeley, California, Kevin emigrated to Israel at the age of 18 and served in the Israel Defense Forces, the country’s military service. He received his undergraduate degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his MD from the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Hadassah Hospital.
Meet Our Host
As a healthcare executive and operator for more than two decades, Keith J. Figlioli developed a deep understanding of the market and a network of healthcare insiders that he brings together in his role at LRVHealth, a venture capital firm focused exclusively on digital health investments.