Case Competitions: Real World Learning

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE

Each year I enjoy the privilege of observing case competitions involving students from CAHME-accredited programs. Each one makes me feel optimistic about the future of healthcare leadership.

My most recent experience was at the 23rd Annual Everett V. Fox student Case Competition at the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) annual conference, held in Orlando, FL. Thirty-three teams (the most ever for an NAHSE competition) were challenged to develop solutions for a fictional health system, Capital Care. Teams were asked to propose ways in which Capital Care could encourage greater patient participation in a Medicare Shared Savings Plan, especially among patients facing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and behavioral health and addiction.

I attended 15 of the presentations and couldn’t help but be impressed at the quality of the presenters.  Many teams included first year students who may have been in classes only for a couple months.  The creativity of the teams was evident, and the focus was on impacting patients through innovative healthcare delivery systems and addressing the social determinants of health. The winning team from The Ohio State University focused on self-management through technology including Epic’s Healthy Planet and wearable patient technology.  Taking second place was the team from the University of Illinois at Chicago, which proposed developing a high-risk primary care clinic for diabetics.  Third place finisher UNC Chapel Hill focused on key performance indicators and working to improve early detection of health issues with more timely patient interactions. I noted with pride that all five finalists, which also included teams from the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa, are CAHME-accredited.

During the case competition, I had a chance to talk with Ralph Horky, an Adjunct at the University of Florida, who emphasized how valuable case competitions are for students. Reflecting the “real world” ahead of them in their careers, students in case competitions must develop solutions through their own processes and their own narratives. Combining this experience with the guidance provided by faculty, Ralph felt that case competitions function like a “post graduate” educational experience.

My congratulations to all the student teams who participated, and to everyone at NAHSE for another successful conference. You can see how CAHME programs have fared over the last three years of case competitions on our web site. Keep up the good work!

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO
CAHME

   The winning Ohio State University team, from left: Alpha Mansaray, Reed Franklin, and Ron Birchfield.
From left, Lauren Marei, Ose Ituah and Lalli Akurati from the University of Illinois Chicago took second place.
From left, Whitney Okie, Gina Thompson, and Ruben Joseph from UNC Chapel Hill took third place.