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4 Areas of Focus Where CEOs Are Strategizing

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   May 30, 2024

Hospital leaders are weighing how to get the most out of their people and operations across their organizations.

As healthcare reckons with change, hospital and health system CEOs recognize that the status quo is no longer cutting it.

To combat the challenges at the forefront, as well as the ones brewing under the surface, leaders must have a proactive mindset for the sake of the people in their organization and the business.

Here’s a look at four areas executives at the recent HealthLeaders CEO Exchange in Kohler, Wisconsin, identified as in need of a fresh approach:

Leadership accountability

CEOs may oversee everything, but they can’t be everywhere all at once. That’s why it’s critical to develop accountability within the C-suite and management teams to ensure goals are being met.

How can you foster accountability? For one, CEOs at the Exchange shared that it’s important that an expectation is set, while aligning leaders with system goals and showing them where they fit. It’s likely that leaders will have blind spots, but it’s on CEOs to point those out and address them.

Most importantly though, accountability can’t be achieved without metrics to track performance. CEOs should give their leaders the proper resources, analytics, and data so they can see how their decisions play out.

Physician autonomy

Attracting and keeping physicians is one of the biggest pain points CEOs are grappling with right now.

There are several ways to improve physician relations, but one strategy CEOs shouldn’t overlook is giving their doctors more of a say in how they practice.

Physicians care about their life mission and as such, they want to be involved in the clinical decisions made at the highest level. They also want to be part of administrative decisions, but they especially want to drive clinical care. It’s on CEOs to give them the forum to do just that.

Whether it’s through surveys or open dialogue, CEOs can seek out from their physicians the areas that would move the needle most, potentially leading to higher satisfaction and greater attachment to the organization.

Pictured: Attendees take part in discussions at the CEO Exchange.

Implementing AI

Some technology investments in healthcare still feel like a risk at this point, but it’s hard to deny the immediate benefits of implementing generative AI.

Another way of keeping physicians happy is by cutting down on the administrative work that often leads to burnout and that’s one instance where AI can work its magic. For example, physicians can get more time back with AI reducing the constant need for inbox management, allowing doctors to do more fulfilling work with their patients or focus on their own well-being.

Margins are tight for many, but many hospitals will be stuck in an endless cycle unless they set aside resources to invest in innovative solutions that will soon be essential and not just a luxury.

Building a pipeline

While CEOs have their hands full maintaining their workforce, they must look beyond the current generation of workers if they want to build something sustainable.

That means working with educational institutions, all the way down to the high school level even, to develop skills that will be crucial to the future of healthcare. Dual curriculums or national certifications, for example, will create more workforce opportunities and streamline clinical talent to organizations that need them.

There also needs to be a greater emphasis on developing a tech skillset for the next wave of workers. As more technology enters the industry, both clinical and non-clinical staff with experience handling systems will be valuable for hospitals.

Are you a CEO or executive leader interested in attending an upcoming event? To inquire about attending the HealthLeaders Exchange event, email us at

The HealthLeaders Exchange is an executive community for sharing ideas, solutions, and insights. Please join the community at our LinkedIn page.

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 


There was no shortage of topics discussed at the recent HealthLeaders CEO Exchange in Kohler, Wisconsin, where hospital leaders gathered to hear from their peers.

From workforce to technology, CEOs offered insight on what has or hasn't been working for them, as well as what they want to do differently.

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