Rich is President of Sanford Frontiers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanford Health. He has been in the medical field for over 20 years. In addition to his role at Sanford Frontiers, Rich is a Board Member at Ronald McDonald House Charities and past Board Chair. He is also on the Sioux Council Boy Scouts Board, where he serves as the Vice President of Administration.
What are the goals of Sanford Frontiers, an arm of the rapidly growing Sanford Health system?
Sanford Frontiers is an innovation venturing arm of Sanford Health. Important to note is we are not a Venture Capital group. We are a taxable non-profit, wholly owned entity within Sanford Health. Our focus is to move forward new innovative opportunities with key partners and internal Sanford Health resources. There are three areas we are currently focused on:
- Supportive Real Estate: Our focus is to find partners to bring hotels and restaurants to our campuses. We are not trying to enter this space ourselves, but create the environment and establish physical skyway connections for our patients and families.
- Medical Device and Therapeutic Development: Sanford Research has many exciting breakthroughs, and Sanford Clinic has almost 1500 Physicians. When you pair these two, Sanford is positioned very well to make significant advances in medicine. In recent time, we have moved forward several patents on both new devices and therapeutics. From 2014-2015, we plan to introduce new physician-initiated clinical trials in a few key areas. Much of this work has industry sponsors highly engaged.
- Consumer Health: Profile® by Sanford® is a comprehensive weight management program designed by Sanford Health physicians and scientists, as a simple, effective and sustainable solution. The program makes use of a Profile coach and offers integrated complementary technology to directly connect the coach and the member through their journey. Clinical and scientific protocols have been designed to assist the coach to implement an individualized plan for each member. Their plan is designed with a focus on nutrition, activity and lifestyle adaptations required for short and long-term success. www.ProfilePlan.net
How has your background in engineering and R&D prepared you for your role as President of Sanford Frontiers?
I have been blessed to be an entrepreneur and have leadership roles in world-class organizations. The entrepreneur engineer taught me about speed and agility. My time in corporate engineering roles taught me about rhythm and rigor. When you pair those two, it creates an interesting dynamic. My teams know to bring me a plan, not a problem, but that I’m always willing and eager to help engage in the final solution with them.
Can you provide us some background on the Profile by Sanford® program?
Profile started out as the “Sanford Diet”. The request was, with obesity/overweight approaching 70%, “What are we going to do about it?” We first assembled a great clinical and scientific advisory board that provided great direction and input on what to do and what not to do. We settled on creating a comprehensive meal-replacement plan that is based on the latest science, but personalized for each member to develop a unique nutrition, activity and lifestyle coaching plan for them. The innovative use of Profile Smart Wireless home devices (ProfilePlan/SmartTech) gives the members and our coaches immediate feedback and creates a highly accountable relationship. Our meal-replacement products total about 100 now and range from bars and shakes to pizza and ice cream. We are constantly asked, “Are you sure this is healthy? It tastes too good.” Profile is something we are very proud of and intend to always keep at the highest level. We currently have 13 Profile Centers open or under construction. We are franchising this now and have our first franchise sold in Lincoln, Nebraska. Several more locations are in progress. We anticipate having 30 Profile Centers open by June of 2015.
What is your view on how providers can start thinking about a marketplace in which value is more important than volume?
The concept of the shift from volume to value is one that Sanford leadership and physicians have been discussing for some time and have taken many key steps towards. By having our own health plan, we have had a foot in each world for over 15 years. Personally, I think this period of time is very complex. I believe the vast majority of physicians close the door with the patient in a clinic exam room and “do the right thing”, it’s how they are trained. One of the biggest changes truly comes from putting in systems that take care of the patient when they aren’t in a hospital or clinic. Sanford has implemented the medical home very extensively through the addition of RN Health Coaches who are embedded within our primary care clinics system wide. These nurses work with physicians and the care team when patients are not in the clinic. My advice is to start focusing on the infrastructure needed, but don’t forget the real change is a cultural one and these take time.
What do you like to do outside the office?
I’m an active person. I love to challenge myself and keep busy. We have a lake house where we spend a lot of time on jet skis, waterskiing and time by the fire. However, since I’m a very goal driven person, I thrive on setting high goals for myself personally as much as professionally. Two summers ago my son and I backpacked a 100 miles in 10 days, and the following January my daughter and I completed our first marathon together. This summer I’m challenging myself to complete a triathlon. At 46, I’m not trying to break any speed records, but I love spending time with my family and pushing myself at the same time.