Avant-garde Health

Avant-garde Health
Avant-garde Health was born out of research at Harvard into value-based care. (Avant-garde Health)

Avant-garde Health was born out of research at Harvard into value-based care and since 2014 has made its mission to work with hospitals on initiatives extending beyond the facility’s four walls and into the post-acute space. 

Shelli Pavone Avant-garde Health
Shelli Pavone (Avant-garde Health)

Shelli Pavone, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, said that research base ensures that Avant-garde is working with a clear philosophy on measuring and tracking value-based care.  

The Boston-based company’s work, she said, is rooted in research from Robert Kaplan, Ph.D., a research fellow and professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, and Michael Porter, Ph.D., an economist at Harvard Business School, and their concept of time-driven activity-based costing. 

That approach gets closer to true cost metrics that hospitals can build from, Pavone said. She said their analytics platform at present can specifically target certain payment models, like bundled payments, to help providers understand where they are and execute change.

Avant-garde Health has partnered with some big-name health systems so far, to positive results. Working with Gundersen Health System on bundles for joint replacement, for example, reduced Gundersen's knee replacement costs by 18% in under two years, the group said. Gundersen saved $1,600 for each total joint replacement by reducing length of stay and reducing use of skilled nursing care after surgery.

Avant-garde's platform also helped Penn State Hershey Medical Center save $6,000 for each joint replacement case and generated projected savings of more than 10% for both spine and joint replacement surgery at New England Baptist Hospital, according to Avant-garde.

Fierce insights from Avant-garde Health Vice President Shelli Pavone

Avant-garde Health

The big idea: “You can’t improve what you can’t measure.” 

Headquarters: Boston

CEO: Derek Haas, also founder 

Launched: 2014 

Funders: General Catalyst, Tectonic Ventures, Founder Collective and Rothman Institute

Funding: $4 million seed round

Annual revenue: Declined to disclose 

Employees: about 20

FierceHealthcare: What is your best piece of advice for launching a healthcare company that challenges the status quo? 

Shelli Pavone: Being a startup, we have some agility that other companies don’t have. We are really about being problem solvers. The health systems we’ve worked with, we put them in touch with product—how can we help you solve this particular problem?

I think that’s really why our clients find a lot of value with us. We truly partner to solve those problems.

FH: What is the failure or challenge you’ve learned the best lesson from? 

SP: You can’t just provide the analytics and walk away. There’s a lot of work that has to happen once you identify those opportunities and insights. I think what we’ve learned is that it requires a lot of heavy lifting on everyone’s part, not just the people in the hospital but our team here. We have to be really ingrained within the hospital business. 

That culture change—that has to happen within the hospital. 

FH: What is one change you predict in healthcare that people wouldn’t expect? 

SP: I think people to some extent see most things coming—there's a lot of analysis around healthcare. It really is models like BPCI-Advanced and looking at the bundled programs and mandatory bundles that are likely to come around. Healthcare knows that it’s coming, but at the same time people are reluctant to fully embrace that. We are kind of ahead of the curve in looking at the full care continuum. 

I think that’s something we’re excited for, and we spend a lot of time thinking about how to make hospitals successful in that environment. 

Avant-garde Health

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