Care Coordination Needs CEOs
The less simple healthcare was, the less profitable. That's pretty blunt, but it's also pretty true. That doesn't mean teamwork was discouraged, but that other than some isolated instances, there was little to encourage it where the rubber meets the road—that is, financially.
Leaders knew this intuitively, even if they couldn't express why it was so difficult to engender teamwork among the different parts of the hospital.
I suppose I wasn't shocked to hear that the ability to work in and lead teams is very important for top executives in healthcare now. But I was surprised to hear concrete examples of how it can be accomplished.
I've covered healthcare for nearly 14 years, so I've heard for a long time about the industry's "silos" and how difficult it has been historically to break them down, even for a CEO. Toppling silos—areas in the hospital that don't realize or don't care how their actions affect other parts of the healthcare delivery system, has seemed the impossible dream.
To grossly oversimplify things, silos and their spawn, uncoordinated care, have led us to the navigational mess the healthcare system presents now to patients and their caregivers. And silos don't help with the costs either.
And there's the rub. Inefficiency has been rewarded—often not willfully, but because there just wasn't a good business reason to really push it.
As one CEO panelist said at the Roundtable, "it's no longer good enough to be on time and to incur no overtime. It's about care pathways and it's about reducing utilization."
So now they get it.
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