Editor’s note: This post is one of a series of Crawford & Company spotlights that introduces senior leaders in the Company.
We caught up with Dr. Jacob Lazarovic, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Broadspire®, recently to discuss a variety of topics ranging from changing technology to the challenges of balancing an active life with a demanding position. Dr. Lazarovic is based in Broadspire’s headquarters in Sunrise, Florida.
- Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
My role entails a number of different components and the emphasis on any particular day is on those which have the highest priority, so there is quite a bit of variety in my schedule. I spend part of most days researching and fine-tuning enhanced clinical programs, technologies, and new products that can keep us on the cutting edge of the managed care arena. This entails close collaboration with virtually every other Broadspire department (marketing and sales, network, claims, utilization management and case management, etc.) We need to demonstrate to clients and prospects that we provide quality and value, so working with our analytics team to study and document program outcomes is one of my most interesting challenges. This is also the goal of the Quality Improvement Committee, which I chair, and which ensures that we strive for continuous service and quality improvements in our clinical areas and meet our accreditation standards, I also help to get our message out to the wider community through webinars, white papers, and presentations at industry meetings. Expanding our global presence is another objective, and I have been very involved in extending our medical services to Canada. Evaluating potential vendors of clinical services, and credentialing peer reviewers is also on the agenda. And of course there are files that are referred to me for review, including coding and pricing issues from medical bill review, appeals cases from our product recall unit and medical quality concerns from many sources.
- What has been the most surprising part of your job?
My background in managed care was in group health, and I was initially astonished at the differences between that sector and the workers compensation/ disability world. It was a steep learning curve to appreciate the unique features that make our tasks much more difficult, in my opinion, than those in the commercial health arena. We must deal with a multiplicity of diverse regulatory jurisdictions; claimants with disparate motivations; a litigious environment; and medical providers who may be uncooperative or even counterproductive. We are faced with an array of difficult decisions about claimant’s lives and livelihoods that must be well-informed, fair and consistent.
- Just since you’ve been at Crawford, what changes in technology have affected your work the most?
My colleagues will be happy to tell you that technology is not my strong suit, and fortunately I have a lot of support to make sure I can make the best use of our resources. The tool I rely on most is simply the Internet, for research on the latest clinical developments, and innovative products and programs that we may choose to build or adopt. Currently the most promising new frontier is telemedicine in its various forms, which can allow for remote medical consultations, second opinions, monitoring of patient progress, and review of radiological images. Broadspire will be a leader in our industry in the creative application of these technologies which can improve access, quality and cost-effectiveness.
- What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Like most physicians who enter into management roles, I bring with me the foundational elements of medical training and practice. First of all, there is the recognition that that there is a person (patient, claimant) at the heart of what we do. That individual needs to benefit from responsive and sound decisions, whether clinical or administrative. Second, our decisions need to be made deliberately and informed by the best available evidence. Data and expertise are important, whether arriving at a diagnosis, or selecting a vendor with which to form a business relationship. And third, collaboration is critical. Diverging opinions, openly expressed and discussed, lead to optimal consensus-based plans, whether at hospital rounds or in the boardroom.
- How do you balance an active life with the demands of your position, and what are doing when you’re not working?I manage to find time to spend with my three daughters and three (going on 4) grandkids, not an easy task since they are all scattered outside the U.S. (which uses up most of my vacation time!) At home I dedicate (according to my wife) too much time and money to my audio-video system which is my primary hobby and pastime. I do try to fit in some exercise most days, and play drums in a trio (keyboard, bass and drums) once or twice a month—we’re not that good, so I need my day job!