M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Deb Gordon

Making Health Care Costs Predictable: Tackling price transparency
With guest speaker Sarah Michalczuk, founder of predictaBill

Tuesday, March 26, 4:00-5:30pm, M-RCBG Conference Room (Belfer 503)

Why haven’t Americans become savvy health care consumers? One of the biggest obstacles — lack of price transparency — is a thorny problem. How can consumers make smart, informed choices without it? Please join Deb Gordon, M-RCBG Senior Fellow, as she hosts an honest conversation about health insurance choices featuring health care cost transparency startup predictaBill founder Sarah Michalczuk. Her thesis is simple: everyone acts rationally based on the information and choices they have, but almost no one has good information. As a former investment banker to insurance companies, Sarah believes that we can use market forces to change the way consumers choose their doctors (and insurance plans) in the U.S. health care market. Learn about her solution, and her journey to entrepreneurship to tackle one of health care’s biggest challenges.

Deb Gordon headshotDeborah Gordon is a seasoned health care executive and a thought leader in health care consumerism. She currently advises entrepreneurial ventures and other companies on consumer strategies, engagement, and marketing in health care. Deb was formerly CEO of Voxent, a national technology firm supporting reproductive health providers with custom electronic health record and analytics tools and a national data warehouse. Deb had previously held health insurance leadership roles, notably as Chief Marketing and External Affairs Officer at Network Health, a Massachusetts health plan now part of Tufts Health Plan and ranked NCQA’s #1 Medicaid plan nationally. Under Deb’s leadership, Network Health received hundreds of awards, including Health Leaders Magazine’s Top Leadership Team award. She helped the plan double its membership under Massachusetts health reform, expand product assortment, and transition to the ACA. Deb was recognized as a 2011 Boston Business Journal “40 Under 40” honoree, an award highlighting Boston’s most influential business and civic leaders. In 2013, Deb was named an Eisenhower Fellow, a non-partisan program chaired by retired General Colin Powell that fosters the exchange of information, ideas, and perspectives among global leaders. On her fellowship, Deb traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore to explore the role of consumers in high-performing health systems. She has served on Harvard University’s Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, as a Board member in MIT’s Delta V start-up accelerator, and as a mentor in Boston University’s Business Health Sector program. She has served on the Editorial Advisory Board for Fierce Health Payer and as Fierce Healthcare’s Innovation Awards’ head judge, and on Marketing Health Services’ Editorial Board, the Advisory Group for Massachusetts’ Choosing Wisely campaign, and several nonprofit Boards. Deb earned a B.A. in Bioethics from Brown University and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School. As a Senior Fellow, Deb will research health care shopping and how to improve functioning of consumer markets in health care. As a Senior Fellow, her research is entitled Beyond Health Care Transparency: Applying Marketing Principles to Improve the Functioning of Consumer Health Care Markets. Her faculty sponsor is Joseph Newhouse, John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School. Email: deborah_gordon@hks.harvard.edu