Skip to main content


CEO Exchange: 7 Thoughts On Innovation

By Philip Betbeze  
   November 16, 2017

During recent roundtable sessions on innovation, CEOs say it can be done in healthcare, but it's their job to help remove the barriers.

Hospitals and health systems aren't typically known for innovation.

Incremental improvement: check. Making strides in healthcare quality: sometimes. Inefficiency and overregulation: Definitely.

Nevertheless, innovation can be found there.

We discussed innovation at the roundtable sessions at the sixth annual HealthLeaders Media CEO Exchange event in Austin, Texas, because we wanted to know how the healthcare industry's top leaders are setting the stage for improvement, such as new approaches to efficiency, quality, and overcoming its heavy regulatory burden, among other issues.

The CEO Exchange is an invitation-only event, and the folks who join us are the cream of the crop, people who aren't afraid to shake up their business models to better compete in modern healthcare.

The CEOs didn't fail to come up with themes, ideas, and suggestions to foster a work environment conducive to innovation. Below are some paraphrased thoughts those CEOs voiced during the roundtable discussions about what they think about innovation and why they are open to it.

  1. Innovation comes from a relentless drive to make things better, but that drive has to be nurtured. Healthcare organizations are change-averse even though, in large part, their leaders feel they're moving forward at a pace they can't possibly keep up with. It's the CEO's job to nurture innovative thinking by finding ways to better communicate with employees. It's the CEO's job to make sure they don't feel intimidated, and if employees have ideas for improvement … leadership finds a way to say yes.
  2. What differentiates an organization should give it a competitive advantage over others. Let innovation be one of those differentiators.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.