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CEOs on the Healthcare System of the Future

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   November 17, 2020

The roundtable panelists detail how they will take their learnings from the pandemic to strengthen their leadership skills and healthcare organizations.

Editor's note: This article is based on a roundtable discussion report sponsored by Vizient. The full report, CEOs Look to the Future: Leadership for the Healthcare System of the Future, is available as a free download.

The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges that forced executives to scrutinize the current healthcare system and imagine what the future holds for the hospitals and health systems they serve.

Executives working toward the healthcare system of the future are taking their learnings from the pandemic and strengthening their leadership skills through transparency and emotional intelligence.

"Essentially, it comes down to emotional intelligence. Many of us work with incredibly talented people, but I see the distinction of a leader being his or her ability to understand and read the situation, or the culture, and then act accordingly. … It's the softer skills that differentiate many operators or administrators from true leaders, and the ability to remain calm during the storm. I was struck by people who wanted to see the human side of the leader [and] wanting to see that we do care," said President and CEO of Bronson Healthcare Bill Manns, MHSA.

They are also taking more financial risks and are open to adopting new care models.

"We need to broaden the horizons geographically and temporally to take risk, because if you're a governor, if you're an insurance exec, if you're a risk-bearing entity, by this point you’ve had smart people tell you that an investment up front in somebody’s health is going to reduce cost down the line. The issue is, are you going to capture those savings or not?" President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America Pat Basu, MD, MBA, said.

In addition, they are more proactive in disaster planning and rethinking their supply chain operations.

"We are reevaluating all of our par levels and not looking at it in terms of how much are we saving, only to end up paying three or four times more for a supply that we don’t have when an event like this happens in the future," CEO of Adult Hospital Market for LCMC Health Bill Masterton said.

Leaders are also addressing diversity and inclusion, racism, and equity by listening and creating programs for their communities and workforce.

"Recent events have challenged us to be much more introspective and intentional. We decided to create a plan, but the plan must be preceded by listening and understanding. We want to do meaningful things that will have an impact on the engagement of our employees, and channel that engagement toward our vision of zero harm, perfecting the patient experience, and improving the health status of the patients and communities we serve," President and CEO of Children's Mercy Kansas City Paul Kempinski, MS, FACHE, said.

View the complete HealthLeaders Roundtable report: CEOs Look to the Future: Leadership for the Healthcare System of the Future

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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