5 Things Every Wannabe CEO Needs to Know

Philip Betbeze, September 28, 2017

Hospitals and health system boards are still looking for strong leaders, but what's changing is the kind of experience you need to elevate to the top job.

Jim King
Jim King

So you want to be the CEO of a hospital or a health system.

Here's the first thing to know: Like it or not, the role of acute care is slowly being relegated.

It's still important, and it's still a high-reimbursement area, but specifically because of that, scores of people and companies are trying to figure out how to use it less.

As a result, even in organizations where acute care represents the lion's share of revenue, the competencies of today's successful CEO range far from the acute-centric skills many hospital and health system executives and boards once prized.

All of today's CEO candidates have to understand the critical interactions between the inpatient and outpatient realms, and the fact that delivering value rests on managing those interactions, not from maximizing patient census and inpatient days.

"Running a health system is about trying to provide coordinated care in an environment that's patient- and family-centric," says Jim King, senior partner and chief quality officer with Witt/Kieffer, a healthcare executive search firm.

Given the need to reduce reliance on acute care services, leaders who want to be CEOs have to learn skills applicable to the rest of the patient’s healthcare journey.

1. Ambulatory Experience

Perhaps nothing is more prized in today's CEO as outpatient experience.

This has not always been the case.

Before the advent of value-based care, outpatient experience was a possible warning sign that the candidate had been placed in a managerial backwater.

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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