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Healthcare Execs Converge in Chicago for ACHE Congress

Analysis  |  By Julie Auton  
   March 04, 2019

The event's agenda covers a wide range of topics, highlighting some of the most consequential issues for the industry at present.

CHICAGO — If you want to quickly learn about the healthcare industry's current hot-button issues, try reviewing the agenda of leading conferences, such as this week's American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress on Healthcare Leadership.

Thousands of senior executives are gathering here for the annual event, where they will hear how they can address these critical issues and challenges effectively.

"This year's Congress sessions will not disappoint, with over 4,000 people registered to attend," says Kurt Barwis, FACHE, president and CEO of Bristol Hospital in Bristol, Connecticut.

Barwis, a member of HealthLeaders CEO Exchange, is finishing his term as ACHE Regent for Connecticut and is now an ACHE Governor.

"I'm excited about my new role and the opportunity to once again network and learn from our [industry's] thought leaders over the next week," he says, adding that participating with ACHE has helped to advance his career.

This year's event, to be held Monday through Thursday, will cover a lot of terrain, including the following noteworthy topics:

1. Fostering enterprise innovation and emerging technology adoption of emerging technologies in care delivery. Telehealth, mobile solutions, and other technologies are increasingly the primary drivers of healthcare delivery transformation. 

2. Improving population and community health through internal and external collaboration. Health systems cannot solve community health issues alone.  Collaboration with other organizations is necessary to address tough issues like chronic care management, behavioral health service gaps and the opioid crisis.

3. Aligning stakeholders around quality, safety, and patient satisfaction goals. Achieving healthcare value is a team effort. Healthcare leaders need effective alignment and commitment from physicians, nurses and other service providers.

Related: Learn More About Our Invitation-Only CEO Exchange — September 25-27, 2019

4. Developing a resilient corporate culture. Leaders must acknowledge and mitigate physician and staff burnout by addressing culture and other causal factors.

5. Employing advanced analytics to improve quality, costs, and service performance.  To create high reliability organizations, leaders must invest in people and systems that leverage clinical and financial data to better support decision-making.

6. Staying focused on personal career development. In the midst of industry turbulence, organizational mergers and other disruptions, leaders must remain agile and adaptive to change while continuing to invest in their knowledge, skills and careers.

7. Leading increasingly diverse workforces. Executives must foster and lead teams that are increasingly multi-generation multiethnic, and LGTBQ inclusive.

8. Building organizational brand and customer loyalty. To win in the age of medical consumerism, leaders must hardwire systems and staff capabilities to engage patients and build a lasting bond to the organization.

9. Improving case management and throughput competencies. Patient throughput continues to a primary operational challenge for healthcare systems. ED boarders, short-stay admissions, and improved access are some of the myriad factors that must be addressed by caregivers.

10. Transformation and margin improvement- Many healthcare organizations continue to struggle with low or negative operating margins.  In these instances and others, a comprehensive organizational transformation is warranted.

Editor's note: This article was edited by HealthLeaders editor Steven Porter.

Julie Auton is the leadership programs editor for HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: Chicago: Panoramic view of Chicago city with Cloud Gate Sculpture in downtown and in foreground. (Editorial credit: Aberu.Go /

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