7 Innovation Keywords from the CFO Exchange

Christopher Cheney, October 16, 2017

What does innovation really mean to you? We asked the members of the HealthLeaders CFO Exchange for their innovation keywords.

Randy Van Straten
Randy Van Straten

Innovation has become such an overused word in healthcare leadership that leaders must further define what the term means to their organization. At the 2017 HealthLeaders CFO Exchange, members were asked to define what innovation means to them and their organizations.

Disruption: "I would use the word disruption—not in the usual sense of talking about other organizations coming into a market—but in the sense that we have to do something different," said Rick Hinds, executive vice president and CFO of UC Health in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lacking: "We are lacking innovation as an industry," said Michael Browning, CFO of ProMedica Health System in Toledo, Ohio.

"As individual organizations, some of us are being innovative, but as an industry we tend to be more status quo.  Many organizations are continuing to hold on to the historical healthcare models, and they are not taking risk and being innovative."

ProMedica has made the difficult strategic decision to invest in innovation for the long term, Browning says.

"Many people think that they cannot be innovative because it does not have an initial return on investment. Innovation can have a return on investment, but the return make take longer to materialize."

"Our board understands the importance of being an innovative organization and they support this investment. So, when you ask about margin and whether the ability to generate a margin hurts innovation at ProMedica, it doesn't. … Our board will say, 'Continue to invest even if we are running a financial deficit because we believe in the strategy and what you are doing.' They know the dollars are coming down the road."

Christopher Cheney

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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