Posts tagged healthcare
Healthcare execs, do you know what’s in your books?

By Pamela J. Gallagher

For some hospitals, the close of the fiscal year comes with a sense of dread—it’s time to run the gauntlet of another audit.

Though audit requirements vary based on whether a hospital is public or private, for-profit or nonprofit, audits are an inescapable reality for every hospital. The audit process can feel like an irritation, yet another project to add to an already full plate, but audits also bring an opportunity to develop stronger accountability and transparency within the organization.

Preparing for an audit can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to spell disaster for your organization.  There are steps healthcare executives can take today to allow a smooth audit process down the road.

Always be prepared.

The best way for your hospital to prepare for an audit is to always be audit-ready.  Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if financial credibility and accountability haven’t been made a priority across all levels of the organization. It’s only when you haven’t been keeping up with your finances that an audit is a potential issue for your organization. 

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Meet the Mother of Strategy: Hope

By Dr. Michael J. Zappa

A mentor of mine is often quoted: "Hope is not a strategy!"

Indeed, there is a world of difference between hoping things will improve and implementing a well thought out plan. However, nothing can ever change or improve unless we can imagine it as such. Once it is imagined, there must be some belief or "hope" that this vision can be realized. Now that's where strategy comes in, making the vision a reality.

As leaders, we must start by inspiring hope, not by asking for the action plan. When your team believes they can make a difference, they will. It is very obvious in healthcare: patients would never come to us without the hope that we can make them better. Hope is not just for our patients, it is for every member of our team.

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Can our Board be better? A few considerations

By Mike McBride

The best healthcare boards are dedicated to the success of the organizations and communities they serve, have a sincere hunger to stay up-to-date and informed about industry standards and stay curious about emerging trends. Board members have to be well educated on the issues, well prepared for generative discussions, and be mindful of the interests and concerns of stakeholders.  Being a contemporary healthcare board member demands a great deal and, in turn, can provide a rewarding experience.

Boards play a critical role in the long-term success of organizations. In addition to the expected fiduciary responsibilities, healthcare boards are tasked with promoting and embodying the mission and vision of the institution and advocating for its well being while setting aside self-interest.  Advocacy includes ongoing education of politicians and civic leaders, fundraising and networking with potential donors, and telling the organization’s “story.”  It is imperative that the board builds relationships in the community in order to expand services to meet community needs and partner with other aligned organizations.

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Are hospitals and provider health systems where innovation goes to die?

By Rodney D. Reider

Politicians, businessmen, and even housewives ask the questions: “Why is healthcare so complicated?” “Why can’t it be simpler?” 

They even demand: “I need care, tell me the price, and don’t make me wait so long.” 

Amazon knows me as a member of Prime and maintains my information securely in the cloud.  Amazon knows where I live with my saved data/information and then delivers to my house in three days or even less.  They know me.  “Why do I have to keep filling out the same paperwork at my hospital every time I arrive?  It is my regular appointment with my same doctor and the same office and hospital.  Why don’t they know me by now?” 

Apple has all those apps I can just download from the app store for service, education, entertainment or every day conveniences. 

“If physicians and hospitals are so sophisticated with all their expensive equipment, why can’t I just get an app to simply make an appointment, review my bill and pay utilizing PayPal?” 

“I’ll tell you what causes a real headache, trying to pay a bill after a stay at my hospital.” 

Finally, “Why can’t I just download my healthcare information and take it with me wherever I go?”

Industry-wide, we providers are internally focused on creating results; too often myopic in our approach.  Ongoing comparisons within the healthcare industry are continuous and judicial yet we restrict our world toward outmaneuvering only the local competitors; however, our patients are judging us by the expectations created outside of healthcare through their engagement in the broader world of technology and business.  As leaders of the Provider sector, we often carryout numerous discussions resulting in mediocre attempts, limited investment and a haphazard focus to lightly adjust our way into the next necessary realm of healthcare’s future.  Yes, some such as Banner, UPMC, Kaiser, and Providence are having an impressive innovative approach and positive impact, yet most, even if they have established Innovation Centers, provide limited capital and secondary support.

Customer expectations originate from numerous smaller entrepreneurs to the headline grabbing Amazon, Apple, Walmart, CVS-Aetna advancements.  Payers such as United continue multiple acquisitions generating a ground-breaking family of companies striving to buy, disrupt, create, and combine beyond the healthcare landscape’s meager approaches.  Forward thinking innovators and disruptors from biotech, pharma and technology are continuing to enhance their progressions.  Their actions will have renewing and lasting effects on every portion of our future healthcare business.

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Clearing Healthcare Hurdles and Building a Client Base

By David Berger, MD

In my last blog post I discussed the challenges digital health startups face when trying to sell to hospitals and health systems.  In this post I suggest some ways to overcome the hurdles and succeed in building a client base. 

Startups need to be realistic about where they are in their product life cycle.  As I mentioned previously, hospitals are risk adverse with tight budgets.  …

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Selling to digital to a hospital? Think like the CEO.

By David Berger

The pathway to success for digital health startups is challenging. Hospitals are often looked at as the point of entry for digital startups. Trying to work with large hospitals can pose challenges for early stage start-ups for several reasons:

1) Hospitals often are a part of larger systems. As a result, there are multiple layers to the approval process with multiple decision makers prolonging the sales cycle. In my experience as COO of an academic medical center the time from initial interest to contract can exceed two years. Furthermore, complex deployment processes add to the timeline for pilot implementation.

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Joy in Leaders = Joy in Work

By Dr. Michael J. Zappa

Focusing on joy, especially in work, is gaining momentum. It has my attention! It is clear to me that the mindset and habits are exactly what great leaders have and do and what developing leaders should concentrate on.

It is very tempting for any leader, especially those in healthcare, to focus on what’s wrong, what needs to be fixed. It’s time to view the situation through a different lens…we need to focus on the meaning and purpose of our work. This is a distinct advantage for those of us in healthcare, our mission is making peoples lives better.

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Influencing Your Team: 10 Leadership Traits that Drive the Ability to Influence Teams

By Dr. Michael J. Zappa

All leaders will openly admit that they could not do their job without their team. However, as humans, I’d bet that most of them, in a moment of frustration, have thought “it would be easier if I just did it myself.” Why? Because influencing people is a gradual process, not simply a decision with immediate results.

Accepting the reality that no matter how brilliant or hard-working you are, you will always need your team which means you need to learn how to influence them.

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Lessons from Global Health Development: Relief vs Development

When faced with failure, what does a responder do? As an expert/advisor, you have a choice: correct the specific failure or strengthen the system (Taylor, Just and Lasting Change). To make this decision, it is critical to discern: is this an event-induced “disaster” – Ebola, Tsunami, Hurricane – or is it a chronic, systematic, or lifestyle-induced failure? In medicine, the difference is how a physician treats a patient with emergency trauma vs a patient with a chronic disease. The global relief vs development challenge has a healthcare leadership parallel: rescue or strengthen.

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The healthcare leadership matrix, how to create a 'win-win' after the deal is done

By Rand O’Leary

The healthcare environment continues to undergo rapid and profound change with mergers, acquisitions and new business models forever changing the landscape of how we lead and deliver healthcare for the next millennium. In my previous article, I discussed the concepts of leading your team through complex problem solving. Today the focus is on you, the leader, how you successfully navigate yourself through new relationships, complex reporting structures and multi-entity healthcare business models.

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Leadership – What It Is and What It Isn’t

By Gay Nord

There are likely more articles, books, blogs and seminars pertaining to Leadership than any other subject. In addition to our formal education and training as a leader, we have learned leadership traits from mentors, bosses, and other leaders over the years; we’ve learned what aspects of leadership we admire, and consider motivating and successful, AND...WHAT ASPECTS WE DON’T.

As a leader, leadership is not about you. Leadership is about those you serve and support, those you impact around you. I’ve learned over my career that command and control may yield short term gains in performance, and in emergent situations may be needed. However, if the goal is to create and sustain a high performing, forward thinking and dynamic organization and one that attracts the best talent, managing through fear and intimidation will not cut it. Relationships, trust, loyalty and truly caring about people, will build a resilient, loyal, high performing organization. Read Full Article.

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Off Track – Now What?

It happens. The organization is off plan…by a lot; and it is not the first time. More than a modest correction or a “wait until next month.” Many factors were likely involved, but the relentless dynamics of the market have overwhelmed a longstanding management team. It is akin to a cyclist who has slipped back from the peloton due to chronic cadence deficit – and now the gap is widening.

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Leading Your Team Through Complexity

By Rand O’Leary

Leading and working in healthcare has always been complex, never more so than in today’s healthcare environment. Increased regulations, government reforms, alternative based payment models, rising consumerism and expectations have come together in a perfect storm swirling around the industry. On top of this, the world economy has become a destabilizing factor as we realize now more than ever how interconnected we are to our world partners, almost a giant game of Jenga, where one false move by a world leader could topple the whole tower.

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Success or Failure: Healthcare Can Not NOT Change

By Roger Barnhart

One can not, not change – especially in business. And, though not always a popular perspective, healthcare is not only a business, it is big business. With many rural communities, the local healthcare system is the primary economic driver. It may sound harsh, but in business, it has been said that we are either growing, adjusting or dying.

As an avid fitness enthusiast, I can personally attest that I must either work to improve, or I will lose the progress I have made - requiring almost constant re-assessment and modifications to my programs. Especially as I age. What I was able to do 10, much less 20 or 30 years ago will no longer render the same results today. Very much like rural health.

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The Empowered Physician Leader

by Rand O’Leary

oday’s healthcare environment is shifting at an ever-increasing pace. The transition to community health focused care is both daunting and challenging for most organizations.  Now, more than ever physician leadership can play a crucial and important role. 

Setup Your Physician Leaders for Success 

Before we begin, it’s foundational to understand how physicians view leadership.  Physicians are trained to work independently, they value their autonomy and can be reluctant to delegate authority.  All good qualities if you’re the patient.  My colleague once said me, “these trauma surgeons are sure difficult to work with.”  My response, “Of course they are. They are trained to take charge, assess situations quickly and be right, every single time.  And If I’m critically injured, that’s who I want taking care of me.” But yes, when we ask them to take on the mantle of administrative leaders, they need our help. 

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Want to build your culture -- start by sweeping the floor!

Over the years, I’ve heard many stories inspirational stories on leadership, one of my favorites involves President John F. Kennedy and his first visit to NASA in 1962.  As the story goes, the President was touring the facility when he came across a janitor carrying a broom down the same hallway as the touring President.  Kennedy, a great lover of people stopped the and asked him what he did for NASA, not missing a beat he replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

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Take your team to first place -- by putting yourself last

by Rand O’Leary

Many high performing companies have discovered the value of servant leadership, which simply defined is serving others first.  When leaders make this simple, but fundamental mind shift, the culture and the organization will follow as will bottom line results.  Employees working under leaders who put their needs first, build self-confidence, make decisions more autonomously, have greater job satisfaction and engagement, and are more likely to practice this same style with their direct reports.

How does servant leadership build organizational and team performance?

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Is it 'Mission Impossible' for healthcare? Why mission-driven leadership is still the answer.

By Rand O’Leary

Healthcare has been in a tremendous period of change, mergers, acquisitions, leadership restructures, and new and improved strategic plans and priorities fill the time of most leaders.  During this time of change, many leaders may wonder privately, does the mission of this organization still matter? Or is it only about the bottom line?   

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Are you holding your team back? Why task-oriented leaders should build their relationship skills to accomplish goals

Task oriented leaders, those using just workplans, measurements, goals, dashboards, etc.…  sometimes may be left scratching their heads when their teams do not accomplish their goals, or performance begins to decline without any clear reason as to why.

To motivate your teams, and accomplish your goals, perhaps you would be better served to examine your leadership relationship competencies. 

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Impacting Change Through Challenge

By Roger Barnhart

While talking with volunteers at the information desk, in walks the sweetest elderly couple. Both were in their mid to late 80s. The wife is using a cane with one hand and holding onto her husband for support with the other. 

An early August day, outside temperatures were in the upper 90s. It was my first week working within a $40M health system as interim CEO and consultant. The facility offered a vast array of both general and specialized services. Without counting the licensed beds, one would never know it was not an urban health system, but rather a Critical Access Hospital.

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