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Give CMOs the Tools for Success

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, August 3, 2012

"That carries a lot of political weight too," he says.

Although Kestner, trained as a trauma and critical care surgeon, still practices on nights and weekends, he says the perception persists among other physicians that the CMO has permanently traded in his scalpel for a suit.

"When you stop practicing medicine, you have to build your credibility in different ways," he says, speaking of taking on Epic training, for example.

A CMO's job is fraught with political peril, because "providers have never been easily corralled into doing things a certain way, and they're powerful people."

The first thing the CEO should recognize is that they're asking the CMO to do a huge job and should make sure they have the resources.

"At Alegent, I had them," he says. "I had 150 employees who reported to me, and when I wanted to do transformational work, I could focus the workforce on accomplishing the task."The CEO also needs to make sure the organization is organized appropriately to address the future changes that need to occur, he says, and if not, re-delegate to accomplish those tasks.

Because everything in hospital databases has historically been financially based, that's where people most often start when they think of care standardization and resource utilization, but getting rid of the variance isn't the solution, he says.

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