HealthLeaders: What are some of the factors encouraging or enabling that increase in communication and collaboration?
Steele: I'm biased as the chairman of Premier, but organizations like that represent a huge amount of enabling for systems getting ready for a new payment system. They're effective conveners where we're essentially trying to learn from each other through shared data. When I go to my board it's more convincing when what I'm proposing is backed by metrics that come from 200 of the best, most aspirational organizations in the country.
HealthLeaders: In what areas does it make sense for senior executives to network with each other? For example, on strategy, utilization, costs, efficiency, quality?
Steele: Our assumption is that with so many changes going on in how healthcare is practiced and delivered, thanks to payment reform (whether by government, employers, or payers), this kind of networking increases the knowledge base among leaders, and they are able to quickly experiment among themselves and reach conclusions on best practices in many of these areas. A few organizations have moved into this convener role.