Executive Edge Capstone Project Spotlight: Advancing Practitioners

An EMBA team offers suggestions to help their client company, Advancing Practitioners, expand from peri-operative care into the post-acute space.


EMBA, Capstone Strategy Project, Executive Edge




In the Executive Edge track of the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program, students are assigned to a cross-function C-Team, designed to emulate a C-suite of executives. During their final spring semester, each C-Team completes a capstone strategy project, consulting on real business challenges.

The Client: Advancing Practitioners provides patient care staff, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to hospitals before, during, and after orthopedic surgeries. The company currently contracts with major hospital systems in Florida and Tennessee.

The Project: Advancing Practitioners is launching a new service in Florida that will provide post-acute care for 30 days after surgery in the patient’s home, with a goal of reducing hospital readmission rates. The EMBA team was tasked with identifying key factors that will help the new post-acute service succeed after launch.

The Analysis: The EMBA team tapped resources at the Walker Management Library to conduct research on the healthcare industry. They also coordinated interviews with hospital and insurance staff to get firsthand insight into the industry. Advancing Practitioners provided beta test data and other company information, keeping the lines of communication open with emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings.

The Recommendations: The EMBA team presented their final deliverable to the CEO and COO of Advancing Practitioners on campus at Owen. The team discussed their in-depth analysis of the beta test data, with an emphasis on readmission rates and patient satisfaction ratings. They recommended that Advancing Practitioners should position the service as one that addresses patient satisfaction, rather than reduces financial penalties incurred by unnecessary readmissions. They also gave Advancing Practitioners a prospect list of the top ten hospitals in Florida that it should focus on, should the company expand in Florida in the future.

The Feedback: “The essential question is ‘Would you have paid a consultant to do this work?’ and we said ‘Yes, absolutely,’” said Greg Flanagan, Chief Operating Officer of Advancing Practitioners. “We actually lifted some of their slides into our sales presentation that we presented to our prospects.”

“(The EMBA team) gave us some really key insights into some industry data and some very specific insights into customer data that we had never considered before,” he continued. “That’s where I was most impressed.”

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