Empowering Patients through Establishing Avenues of High-Quality Care at Home

#WomanCrushEntrepreneur

Christine Lum Lung

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Origin Healthcare

July 2021

Background

Background

CEO/Medical Director, Northern Colorado Hospitalists

MBA, Yale School of Management

Internal Medicine Residency Program & Chief Resident, University of California, San Diego – School of Medicine

M.D., University of Colorado School of Medicine

B.A., Political Science, Stanford University

Christine Lum Lung is a physician, entrepreneur and leader who strives to make a difference in healthcare. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Political Science and received her MD from University of Colorado Health Sciences. When she was a resident, hospital medicine was emerging as a specialty to which she gravitated because it offered her the opportunity to care for the systems sickest patients, the premise of her latest venture. Prior to founding Origin Healthcare, she was the CEO & Founder of Northern Colorado Hospitalists. Her desire to leverage her experience to further improve healthcare was one of the key reasons she decided to get her MBA. She recently completed the Executive MBA program at Yale School of Management this past Spring. She is now the Founder, and Physician CEO, of Origin Healthcare, an innovative, mission driven healthcare organization providing hospital level care to patients in their homes with the goal to improve the health of patients and the future of healthcare. She chats with our Program Manager, Sharon Mwale, on her passion for empowering patients and improving healthcare delivery in America.

Looking back at your early career choices and academic pursuits – was becoming an entrepreneur part of your plan?

No. I always knew I wanted to be a physician but what draws me to entrepreneurship stems from my passion to continually find ways to improve what we are doing to help patients. Shortly after starting my career as a hospitalist physician, I found myself asking “isn’t there a better way to do this?” I then made the decision to find a better way. I moved to Colorado and founded Northern Colorado Hospitalists, an independent company providing care to hospitalized patients. Over the next 16 years I grew the company to 43 physician providers, covering 3 regional hospitals. We developed and implemented innovative protocols and in the last year, brought on medical students. I loved the company we were building and the care we were providing, but I continued to see the struggles my patients and their families were facing. I felt that there was still more I could do to improve healthcare for them. Even though I had been running my own business for over a decade, I decided that the next step for me was to get an MBA to strengthen my skills and learn how to make an even larger impact. During the second year in the program, I discovered the “Hospital at Home” model, which has the potential to completely change the way we approach the delivery of healthcare. While I had not intended to start another company, this model resonated deeply with me, and I knew that I wanted to lead the efforts to make this care available to patients. I am fortunate to have two mission driven co-founders and this year we made Origin Healthcare a reality.

What is your advice to women and what actionable steps can they take as leaders or aspiring entrepreneurs in the health & tech industries?

Entrepreneurship is such an emotional journey, but I do this work because I believe in its potential, and I never want to wonder “what-if.” More than anything I think we should always remember that we are much more capable than we realize and that we each have the capacity to make a meaningful impact.  My advice is:

  1. Pay attention because there are many opportunities where you can be the person to make a positive change. Start with looking at the problems right in front of you.
  2. Have the courage to step up and say, “I can be the one to make that better.” Take the lead.  Believe in yourself and know that you have or can acquire the skills to do what you aspire to do. I did not plan on coming into entrepreneurship the second time around, but it was so clear that this is what I needed to.
  3. Understand your “Why.” If you know your “Why” you can anchor back to it when things, inevitably, become hard or when you may want to quit. My “Why” is our patients. I know I need to be here to be their voice and represent what they need. We are committed to placing patients at the center of what we do, and we want others in healthcare to do the same.

Today, and with each passing day, we strive to do more—with less. How do you in your organizations or personally leverage technology or improve processes to make healthcare work better, faster, smarter, more efficient, and/or less expensive?

Origin Healthcare is redesigning hospital care. The hospital should not be seen as a destination, but rather a level of care that is provided. By bringing hospital care to patients in their homes we can avoid the isolation, complications, and high costs of a traditional hospitalization. The “Hospital at Home” model is one of the rare instances in healthcare where all of the metrics that we care about—patient safety, quality, experience, and cost—all move in the right direction. We leverage technology to ensure safety and to help expand our reach. Our team also prioritizes the unique personal connections patients need when receiving medical care. We are high tech and high touch. Patient outcomes are improved, and we can realize a 30-40% savings per admission. This can significantly change the trajectory of the current pace of national healthcare spending. What is also meaningful for our team is the potential we have to improve healthcare access and equity. We can provide care to patients who currently struggle accessing care, whether from social or economic barriers. We are now invited into patients’ homes, instead of mandating they come into the controlled, institutional setting of the hospital. Not only does this improve the existing power dynamic in a patient’s favor, but it also allows us to see the environmental factors that may be impacting their health. By closing gaps in care and bringing care to patients who may have otherwise delayed seeking care, we can impact patients’ health immediately and over the long term. We hope to empower patients and their families by providing them a choice in where they receive their hospital care. As we know, the pandemic created opportunities for each of us to pause and rethink how we approach our work. Origin Healthcare wants to push the boundaries of what is possible and inspire others in healthcare to follow our lead in providing care that honors the needs of our patients.

A light and fun question, what is one interesting fact about you we couldn’t learn by googling you?

I raced jet skis during  residency and competed at the amateur world finals.

Lecky’s Comments:

Our featured #WCE underscores the importance of mission visioned healthcare with the goal of reducing healthcare costs, disparities and inequities in the healthcare system. Clarity around the ‘WHY’ informs clarity around the how of tackling the major challenges faced in healthcare.   Solving the challenges in healthcare is a labor of love. 

 Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves….  Blaise Pascal 

If you would like to recommend a female entrepreneur in healthcare technology to be featured, we encourage you to contact us.

Contact information:

Sharon Mwale       Program Manager        [email protected]

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