For The Record with StoneArch’s Marcia Miller

January 7  


Marcia brings more than 30 years of marketing experience to StoneArch, ranging from start-up brands to Fortune 10 companies. She’s spent the last 12 years committed to the healthcare industry. Before joining the agency, she was Senior VP of Corporate Marketing at Optum, a technology-based health services company owned by UnitedHealthGroup. Prior to that, she’s held senior positions at UnitedHealthcare and a disruptive start-up health company called Marcia’s expertise and proven leadership in the healthcare and agency space are grounded in a results-oriented style that help both companies and teams reach their full potential.

Will the future of healthcare be most significantly defined by reigning in costs or accelerating outcomes? 

The two are inextricably linked. Improving (not accelerating) outcomes will reduce costs. You can’t have one without the other.

What is the definition of value in healthcare today and what should it be? 

Value-based healthcare is all about patient outcomes—which is right where it should be. Focused on the person receiving the care vs. the one providing it. Did they get better? Did you improve their health or their quality of life? Others may say that it’s about providing the highest quality care as cost effectively as possible – and while that may be true, if we stay focused on the person and the success of their health, we’ll end up where we need to be.    

What’s the biggest “blind spot” in healthcare today? 

There are so many blind spots, I don’t know where to start.  Price transparency for consumers is probably one of the biggest ones – the whole industry (insurance, care providers, etc.) still hasn’t fully shifted to being consumer-focused. Providers on the front lines of delivering the care are surprisingly still unaware of how their actions impact out-of-pocket costs for patients. A primary care doc told me that the “Chinese wall” between healthcare cost and healthcare delivery is intentional (at least in his organization). That makes zero sense to me. Consumers enter into health care agreements with virtually no understanding of cost – to them, their company or their insurance provider.  I don’t knowhow we can still be living in the land of “OZ” in health care.  It’s time to pull back the velvet curtain for consumers to truly see and understand.

What’s your company’s or sector’s biggest “blind spot?” 

As a marketing service provider to the health care industry, our “blind spot” is the “blind spot” of each of the companies we serve.  And it is broad and wide.  Sometimes it is price transparency…sometimes it is outcome driven…and sometimes has issues around regulatory constraints or innovation.  The health care business is one of the most complex I’ve ever worked in and our job as marketers is to strive to make things simpler and easier to understand – for all people, no matter how they interact with the system.

Why is a presence in Minnesota, known as the Medical Alley, critical to your company? 

We love being based here in Minnesota!  It allows us access to partner with some great local clients and to build our health care expertise. Being based in the heart of medical alley also boosts our street cred with prospects world-wide and aligns with our singular focus on health. The hotbed of start-ups and innovation that starts here is inspiring and we are thrilled to be part of it.

What is the one thing, other than time or money, you wish you had more of? 

Optimal health.  Not that I want to not age…but I’d like to not have some of the issues associated with it! 

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