Care Coordination Needs CEOs

Philip Betbeze, June 7, 2013

Inefficiency in hospital and health systems used to be rewarded—not willfully, but because there wasn't a good business reason to change things. Now there are financial incentives for care coordination, which takes teamwork—and leadership.

Last week I moderated a HealthLeaders Roundtable about the new skills top executives need to develop or polish in a new world of healthcare delivery, where little seems certain and much seems at risk.

The discussion centered on the contention that many of the attributes by which top executives are evaluated are changing rapidly—as quickly as incentives and business realities are changing.

The Roundtable will be published in the September issue of HealthLeaders magazine. Unfortunately, a roundtable is a 3 ½-hour discussion, so only the highlights make it into the actual publication, leaving a lot of valuable insights on the "cutting room floor." And September is a long way off, so I thought I'd share here some of what we talked about that won't make it into the final version.

For starters, I was surprised that what our panelists had to say about how expectations are changing had as much to do with changing culture and mindset as it had to do with skills.

The essence of the discussion about culture and mindset can be boiled down to this: Everyone, from the CEO on down, must learn to work as a team. Well of course, I thought. Teamwork is the best way to accomplish a difficult goal. That's common sense.

But for many years, teamwork has not only been anathema to the "physician as god" mindset, but it's been toxic for revenues in a roundabout sort of way.

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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