C-Suite Conversations

What healthcare leaders need to know now

4 takeaways from NAHSE C-suite roundtable

By | July 17 th,  2018 | Healthcare, C-suite, healthcare executives, diversity, NAHSE | Add A Comment

Members and guests of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) got some candid advice on career and leadership development from a recent panel of industry executives at Northwestern University.


Panelists for “2018 C-Suite Roundtable-Lessons in Leadership” included:

  • Adrienne White-Faines, CEO, American Osteopathic Association
  • Barrett Hatches, CEO, Chicago Family Health Center
  • Donnica Austin-Cathey, Vice President of Operations, Acute Care Hospitals, Sinai Health System
  • Tim Page, CEO, Kindred Hospital



NAHSE Chicago President Philip Burton moderated the discussion, while the event was spearheaded by Tiara Muse, Director of Research for Furst Group and chair of NAHSE Chicago’s Planning Committee.

The C-suite executives offered four key takeaways for upwardly mobile healthcare leaders:

  • Hatches, who has a heavy travel schedule in leading a national association, said that being a CEO can be isolating at times, and that she is “thankful for a supportive spouse and friends.”
  • Austin-Cathey noted the decisions that women executives face throughout careers when they choose to have a family.

“There were opportunities presented to me, but I passed them up to be a mom,” she said. “Figure out what is most important for you.”

  • All of them reflected on their experiences with their boards, with Page noting that boards are keenly aware of the non-verbal messaging that executives convey.

“When you are confident, they will let you lead,” he said. “If not, they will manage you.”

  • Hatches reiterated a common them among healthcare leaders: the importance of mentors and sponsors.

“A mentor is someone you can choose,” he said. “A sponsor chooses you.” With senior leaders championing his candidacy for several promotions, it helped to accelerate his career in a big way, he said.

Several events are planned in the coming months by NAHSE Chicago, including a new member luncheon July 21 and “Addressing Healthcare Disparities Through Managed Care.” For details, visit www.nahsechicago.com  or contact Tiara Muse.

SreyRam Kuy's field guide to developing physician leaders and diverse teams

By | June 28 th,  2018 | diversity, physician leadership, SreyRam Kuy | Add A Comment


One in a series of interviews with the top executives in healthcare


SreyRam Kuy wears two hats for the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is the associate chief of staff for the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and a senior advisor to the Secretary of the VA.


In an interview with Furst Group and NuBrick Partners as part of the 2018 Top 25 Minority Executives in healthcare awards program for Modern Healthcare, she explains how her background as a surgeon has been ideal training for becoming a leader. 


“When you have a trauma bay and are doing an emergency thoracotomy (cracking open the chest to access the heart)," she says, "you have nurses and technicians and anesthesiologists and the ER team and students and residents in play. Sometimes, there are even family members of the patient whom you’re trying to get out of the way. It’s definitely a master class in learning how to manage crisis.”


Kuy almost didn't get the chance to use her gifts. She was born in Cambodia's killing fields and was badly injured as a child when a rocket-propelled grenade hit her family's tent in a refugee camp. A volunteer American surgeon performed emergency surgery on both Kuy and her mother.


Kuy also credits three formal leadership programs in which she has participated as also being pivotal catalysts for her career:

  • Presidential Leadership Scholar (under the aegis of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar
  • American College of Surgeons (ACS) Health Policy Scholar at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Management

The Presidential Scholar program in particular, she says, helped her during a stint as chief medical officer for Medicaid for the state of Louisiana. She learned how to build consensus and turned some of the biggest detractors of her policies into champions. By creating more diversity of thought and backgrounds you can gain a broader sense of the issue and gain more traction. 


“When you exclude people, there will be opposition," Kuy says. "But when you bring people into the fold, you give them an opportunity to use their talents. That’s how you engage people and drive initiatives that are successful.”


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NAHSE, Bluford events support diversity and inclusion

By | June 21 st,  2018 | diversity, leadership, inclusion | Add A Comment



Panelists discuss venture-capital investment at the NAHSE gathering.


Furst Group Principal Deanna Banks recently spoke at both the NAHSE CEO Conference and the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute.


At the NAHSE gathering, leaders such as Gene Woods, CEO of Atrium Health, and Pam Sutton-Wallace, CEO of the University of Virginia Medical Center, recounted racially charged events in their cities where healthcare executives took the lead to bring understanding and healing to the community.


Banks took part in a session examining the need for private equity and venture capital investors to back diverse entrepreneurs.


“Diversity is a strategic asset for organizations that find themselves leading the discussion in today’s tumultuous culture,” Banks says. “We had a very robust discussion with industry pioneers in innovation about how to attract the attention of venture capitalists.”


At the Bluford Institute, diverse leaders from throughout the U.S. healthcare industry speak to healthcare students from historically black colleges and universities about strategies for success in their chosen field. Banks joined leaders such as Woods, Henry Ford Health System CEO Wright Lassiter, CHI leader Kevin Lofton and Ascension CEO Pat Maryland as speakers. Banks counseled students on how to create their own personal brand as a platform for success. 



For additional resources and articles on diversity click the button below: 


Diversity Resource Library


Announcing the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare - 2018

By | February 26 th,  2018 | Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity | Add A Comment

Modern Healthcare Top 25 Logo

Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 10th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala on July 18 in Chicago.

Please click here to read our interviews with previous honorees in the two Top 25 awards programs promoting diversity.

2018 Top 25 Minority Executives


Click here to see the entire list and find articles and other resources.


Christine Candio talks about the transformational impact that technology is having on the patient-care life cycle

By | January 24 th,  2018 | Healthcare, Healthcare Reimbursement Models, Healthcare Systems, Industry Reports, Patient Care Experience, Patient Life Cycle, Big Data Usage in Healthcare Applications, Blog, Digital Transformation, Leadership Structures, Insurance Transformation | Add A Comment

Christine Candio

“From an organizational perspective, digital transformation has required us to evaluate our organizational structure and leadership education.”

Christine Candio, President and CEO of St. Luke’s Hospital, recently gave us the pleasure of discussing her views on the transformational impact that technology has on the patient-care life cycle, as part of a collaborative industry report conducted by IIC Partners, including Furst Group and other Life Science and Healthcare Practice members.

How does digital transformation affect the patient care life cycle for your organization?

Our main goal with the utilization of enhanced digitization of our healthcare data is to improve the overall health and wellness of our patients. We see this evolving as we focus our goals around the ‘ownership’ of the patient record, our ability to use data to find opportunities to proactively manage patient populations, and to set a strategy in place for digital outreach to our patient populations and deliver care when and where they require it. From a data ownership perspective, we are in the process of implementing an integrated Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution, allowing for a single consolidated patient record. We are then layering on top of the EMR a patient portal which we will use to effectively communicate the overall status of a patient’s health, allowing them access to their records and be able to interact with our organization in real-time.

The long-term goal of this use of technology is to remove the historic silos of data and transition the ownership of those records to the patient to better manage their own health. In addition to the single EMR platform, we are implementing a robust data analytics and population health solution that will enable us to identify populations of patients and their associated risk level. By using this data, we can proactively focus on patients that are at high or rising risks to better manage and identify care opportunities.

How does digital transformation change the demands in existing leadership structures and what new roles arise as a result of digital transformation?

From an organizational perspective, digital transformation has required us to evaluate our organizational structure and leadership education. Over the past few years, we have identified positions and committees such as a Chief Medical Information Officer, Population Health Physician Liaison and the Informatics Committee. These aim to better align the needs of physicians with information technology being delivered by the organization. We have also created new leadership areas such as a population health department. As our strategy begins to take place around telehealth, we will need to consider the leadership necessary to support this initiative as well.

What are the largest challenges when it comes to digital transformation and patient care for your organization?

There are a number of challenges when considering and implementing these new technologies. The largest opportunity that we are currently managing is our ability to keep up with the ‘rate of change’ with these technology solutions. Although the amount of data and the capabilities and utilization of that data is bringing a tremendous amount of opportunities to the healthcare industry, these solutions are being developed faster than many organizations can implement them. When considering this and the ever-changing regulatory environment, this constant and rapid rate of change on many healthcare providers, especially the physician community, can cause a tremendous amount of stress and burnout. It has been very important for us to build a strong relationship with the physician community that includes their involvement in the process from strategic planning to solution implementation. These solutions need to be carefully rolled out in a mindful way that takes into consideration the impact on our healthcare providers, their workflows, and our patients.

How does digital transformation of other key players in the healthcare system (hospitals, health insurance, pharmaceutical companies) impact your business?

The ability to have data transparency across all sectors/players in the healthcare industry is critical for our organization and our patients. The capabilities to data mine clinical activities within our single EMR is very beneficial, but still leaves the overall patient health profile incomplete. Without access to insurance and claims data, any services provided outside of our system are not acknowledged, and will possibly falsely show as a gap in patient care or opportunity. Without the data from pharmacy beneficiary managers and pharmaceutical companies, we will not have access to medications that patients may be paying out of pocket for, again falsely showing gaps in medication compliance. These false positives will be a drain on our healthcare resources and frustrating for patients. It is critical for our organization and as an industry that we continue to push for data transparency and standards.

Do you find similar challenges in your organization? We’d love to hear your thoughts below in the Comments section.

You can find more insights on this topic in the full IIC Partners’ industry report, “Impact of Digital Transformation on the Patient Life Cycle,” which includes more interviews with top healthcare executives around the world.

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Regional Health President and CEO, Brent Phillips, shares his perspective of technology’s influence on Healthcare.

By | December 5 th,  2017 | Healthcare, Healthcare Reimbursement Models, Healthcare Systems, Industry Reports, Patient Care Experience, Patient Life Cycle, Big Data Usage in Healthcare Applications, Blog, Digital Transformation, Leadership Structures, Insurance Transformation | Add A Comment

Brent Phillips, Regional Health President and CEO

“I personally want to see more roles that look at HOW we capitalize on digital transformation and not just how to adopt it.”

In a recent interview with Brent Phillips, President & CEO of Regional Health, we explored, in collaboration with IIC Partners, the impact that digital transformation is having on healthcare and the patient-care life cycle.

How does digital transformation affect the patient care life cycle for your organization?

I would like to see digital transformation really shift the patient care life cycle paradigm on its head. Digital transformation can allow patients to receive care when they need it, in an environment where they need it—in their “lifespace.” This can be the home, office or even in the classroom. Reimbursement models will need to adapt to allow for this, but digital transformation in other aspects of our lives will push our patients to demand this type of care. Another example of this is the site AnyLabTestNow.com, which allows patients to order and review lab results for simple blood tests, hormone tests and genetic screening without a physician order. Why would a patient need to come to a traditional healthcare setting when these types of services are offered? We need to consider how we will tap into these new options and still provide traditional healthcare services for those that need it.

How does digital transformation change the demands in existing leadership structures and what new roles arise as a result of digital transformation?

The new role I have created at Regional Health, for the Chief Performance Officer, is a great example of a leadership role developed to support the changes that digital transformation is bringing. The idea of bringing together system-wide services such as enterprise intelligence, quality and operational performance management makes so much sense. This will allow us to better connect technology to the patient care life-cycle. This next comment may be controversial, but I think the role of the CMIO and CIO will diminish and disappear over time. All caregivers need to use technology ALL of the time, and this won’t be seen as a unique skill set but rather mandatory. Standardization is being driven by both technology and value-based care, which will also drive less need for IT development and support. Cloud technologies will create less reliance for on-site IT personnel. I personally want to see more roles that look at HOW we capitalize on digital transformation and not just how to adopt it.

In what ways does big data impact your organization and how can it improve the patient care experience?

I am not sure that “big data” is the term I would use. However, transformation of data to information will have a huge impact—if we approach it correctly. We need to know what the right “test questions” are and focus more on our use of data. This has been a challenge in every healthcare organization I have worked in. We need to start small, show value and process improvement through data and then expand. I think we will see more consolidation of data sources, and this will become advantageous for organizations like Regional Health. We will need to watch this space and understand how to tap into these sources. Technology that allows us to bring together disparate data is also changing and becoming less costly and more available, but there is a cultural challenge to overcome for institutions. Many people are stuck in the traditional data warehousing mentality and this can have a negative impact on transformation. Regional Health will benefit from data interoperability efforts, especially for people visiting remote areas who need our care. If we can connect with their home healthcare organizations and retrieve necessary data, this will allow for safe and efficient care delivery.

What are the largest challenges when it comes to digital transformation and patient care for your organization?

Cost. State-of-the-art technologies are not inexpensive and changes in reimbursement are not making it easy for us to continue to invest heavily in some of the infrastructure we need. At the same time, people are reluctant to move to the cloud which also isn’t necessarily inexpensive either. There is definitely a lack of skilled people available in data analytics and integration of technology. Finally, culture is a major challenge given that we haven’t been early adopters to technology in general and now we are playing catch-up.

How does digital transformation of other key players in the healthcare system (hospitals, health insurance, pharmaceutical companies) impact your business?

Our competition is no longer local—it is everywhere, even international. When a patient can conduct a virtual visit in a more convenient way than they can with Regional Health, how do we convince them to still come to us? There will also be technologies (e.g., remote monitoring, medical devices) that will allow for care to be delivered in different ways that we will need to evaluate for adoption. Insurance transformation (or lack thereof) is probably an area that can most negatively impact Regional Health. If we want to deliver care in different ways, but reimbursement isn’t available, this will halt our ability to take advantage of these digital advances.

What are your thoughts on the impact of technology on the patient life cycle and healthcare in general? Share them below in the Comments section.

Read additional insights in the full IIC Partners’ industry report, “Impact of Digital Transformation on the Patient Life Cycle,” which includes more interviews with top healthcare executives around the world.

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Executive succession as a talent strategy

By | November 20 th,  2017 | Talent Acquisition, NuBrick Partners, succession planning, Blog, Leadership Development, Executive Succession, Talent Retention | Add A Comment

It’s daunting to think about your executive leaders parting from the organization, but spending time planning for this inevitability can actually reduce surprises and even help retain your top talent. Research has shown that teams feel more engaged when they can see the path forward and have better awareness of development and growth opportunities.

Thinking about succession planning can be overwhelming, but when you utilize a system that walks you through every step it can alleviate organizational anxieties, and help to solidify your plans for future bottom-line growth.

In a recent article in Wharton Healthcare Quarterly, Bob Clarke and Joe Mazzenga of Furst Group and NuBrick Partners found that more than 50 percent of organization had no formalized succession plan for their executive leadership team. So, if you don’t have something in place, you’re not alone.

Succession Planning Graphic

Many HR teams lack the abundance of resources to effectively manage even the immediate needs of an organization, so asking them to look into the future three, five, or even 10 years continues to lose in the battle for time and resources on the priority list. But if it’s reframed properly as a retention strategy, it tends to get the top-line billing that it needs to truly deliver a competitive advantage in talent acquisition and retention, as well as a growth perspective.

Being able to create a data-driven development plan that allows your executive leadership team to thrive comes from knowing where you want to take the organization in the short and long term. It can be difficult to plan effectively if you are unsure of your team’s intentions when it comes to retirement, desire for growth and so on.

Also, when you consider the deep impact an unexpected change in your executive leadership will have both culturally and operationally on your organization, succession planning must be considered an immediate, high-level need.

Learn more about Executive Succession from NuBrick Partners by reading their latest article A Benchmark for Success: Executive Succession and Leadership Development

Industry Report: Impact of Digital Transformation on the Patient Life Cycle

By | November 13 th,  2017 | population health, Digital Impact on Healthcare, healthcare executives, Industry Reports, Blog, leadership, Technology and Healthcare, Data-related job titles | Add A Comment


Impact of Digital Transformation Industry Report Cover

In a series of interviews with senior executives and thought leaders from around the world, IIC Partners, Furst Group and other members of the IIC Partners’ Healthcare and Life Sciences group, provide an anecdotal look at the impact of digital technologies on healthcare organizations and how it affects patient care.


The insights gathered during these interviews deliver a comprehensive look into how advances in technology are digitizing the industry, and subsequently changing the talent requirements and overall landscape.


Read and Download: IIC Partners' Industry Report on the Impact of Digital Transformation on the Patient Life Cycle


Outside of the IT department, many organizations are redefining leadership structures and the types of roles needed to help bridge the gap between data and performance. Some of these modified and newly created roles are:

  • Chief Digital Officer
  • Chief Medical Information Officer
  • Population Health Liaison
  • Data Protection Officer
  • Chief Performance Officer

In addition to exploring the influence on talent management, the report explores the impact of digital transformation on several other aspects of the patient life cycle, including:

  • Patient-Ownership of Health Data
  • Growth Drivers in Population Health Initiatives
  • Evolving Skillsets for Providers
  • Development of Telehealth Programs
  • Cultural Shifts Required for Digital Adaptation

Are you finding similar challenges and trends in your organization? We’d love to hear your thoughts below in the Comments section.


Find out how others are experiencing this impact in the full industry report, “Impact of Digital Transformation on the Patient Life Cycle.”


Healthcare executive Ruth Brinkley: 'I'm not retiring'

By | September 29 th,  2017 | KentuckyOne, Modern Healthcare, Ruth Brinkley, Blog, CEO, Top 25 Women in Healthcare | Add A Comment

Photo of Ruth Brinkley


One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Women in Healthcare for 2017. Furst Group and NuBrick Partners, which comprise the companies of MPI, sponsor the awards.


Respected healthcare executive Ruth Brinkley isn’t sure what’s going to happen next in her career, but she says one thing is certain: “I’m not retiring. This is a very exciting time in healthcare and I want to be a part of it!”


Weeks after announcing she was stepping down from her post as CEO of the KentuckyOne Health system, Brinkley said she was looking forward to some R&R before she returned to advise new interim chief executive Chuck Neumann for a couple months.


“I’m not even thinking about what I’m going to do next,” she says. “I’m taking some time off for a river cruise in Europe. There’s nothing like water to wash over your soul. It’s the first extended time off I’ve had in a long time.”


Brinkley says she will take the last quarter of 2017 to think about what she wants to do next in a lengthy career that has seen her go from a segregated, rural small town in Georgia to multiple honors as one of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare. But with an eye on the future, she doesn’t have regrets about the KentuckyOne experience as three health systems attempted to merge – St. Joseph Health System, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare, and the University of Louisville Hospital and James Graham Brown Cancer Center. “The governor did not approve the merger,” Brinkley says. “He didn’t want a state entity being managed by a church organization.”


The end result was that St. Joseph and Jewish Hospital merged into KentuckyOne, which operated University Hospital until this year, when university administrators said they wanted to reclaim the reins.


“Integrating these organizations into a statewide system was a great vision; it was laudable,” says Brinkley, whose veteran experience was sought after by Catholic
Health Initiatives to navigate a complex deal. “At the end of the day, the university wanted to go in a different direction.”


While KentuckyOne is in talks to divest Jewish Hospital and other Louisville assets, Brinkley has some advice for her fellow executives as the industry endures a volatile time.


“The environment is going to get tougher,” she says. “We know there are going to be significant changes in healthcare, and I believe it’s incumbent on all of us to exercise care and due diligence as we move forward. We are all moving from volume to value, yet, I don’t believe that anyone has quite figured out the full equation to make that work.”


And, despite industry initiatives to improve the numbers of diverse executives in the leadership ranks, she believes the climate also is getting tougher on that front.


“I am seeing a retrenchment, unfortunately,” she says. “I think women continue to advance in our industry, but I’m not certain about progress for people of color. I believe some of the advancements were made because organizations felt it was
important to promote diverse executives to address disparities and equity of care. I’m concerned that I’m seeing some erosion in that area.”


Corporate life was far from Brinkley’s thoughts growing up in a small Georgia town. A physician would provide yearly immunizations for children, but Brinkley never had a physical until she went off to college. She was raised by her grandmother, a teacher, who decided that Brinkley should become a nurse.


“I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I went to college, but I didn’t want to be what anyone told me I had to be,” says Brinkley with a laugh. “So, I rebelled against being a nurse.”


In time, she came around. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at DePaul University and ascended through the ranks. Health systems are increasingly looking to clinicians to lead organizations as well as medical groups, and Brinkley says her background has been a profound asset for her.


“I firmly believe that I am a better leader because of my clinical background and experience,” she says. “I believe that the movement from clinical provider to organizational/enterprise leader is best done progressively, adding additional education and experiences along the way.”


But the transition isn’t always as easy as some clinicians think it will be, she warns.


“For those who truly desire to lead, it can be a challenge to learn the business and operations language and processes. In order to be successful, it is vital that
leaders keep the core business in mind. It is difficult to separate the enterprise from clinical processes and outcomes.”


In the same way, she says, it can sometimes be difficult to separate the politics of the day from the healthcare needs of patients.


“But I believe in the American spirit. We will figure it out.”



SIDEBAR: A grandmother's influence looms large


Ruth Brinkley’s first and most powerful role model was her grandmother, who raised her from an infant.


“She was 4-foot-11 and not even 100 pounds soaking wet. I was 5-foot-6 by the time I was in sixth grade, but I thought she was a giant,” Brinkley says. “I had great respect for her.”


In a time when segregation still plagued the South, and when women were sometimes treated with less than respect, Brinkley’s grandmother taught her many leadership lessons, foremost of which was courage.


Although she was a teacher, her husband was a farmer. When Brinkley’s grandfather died, her grandmother could have lost the farm – the crop had been planted but the seed and supplies usually weren’t paid back to the store until the harvest came in.


“She didn’t know anything about the business side of the farm,” Brinkley remembers. “She had to quickly learn the business and make sure that people didn’t try to take advantage of her because she was a woman. She would say all the time, ‘I may be little, but I’m not dumb.’ ”


Other key lessons, Brinkley says, were these:


  • Collaboration. “You can’t really accomplish a lot on your own; you have to build teams. She took in a number of other people’s children, but we were all a part of her family.”
  • Use what you have. “Nobody has all the gifts and all the talents, but you learn to use whatever you have and leverage that.”


Brinkley took much of the wisdom she learned from her grandmother and turned it into a children’s book called Grandma Said.


“She taught me my worth as a woman and as a woman leader,” Brinkley says. “I’m sure there were times when she must have been afraid and alone, but I never saw her flinch.”



Personal experiences drive Susan DeVore's efforts to transform healthcare from the inside out

By | September 20 th,  2017 | Modern Healthcare, Susan DeVore, transformation, Blog, CEO, Premier Inc., Top 25 Women in Healthcare | Add A Comment

Photo of Susan DeVore


One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Women in Healthcare for 2017. Furst Group and NuBrick Partners, which comprise the companies of MPI, sponsor the awards.


Healthcare is personal.


Even though Premier Inc. is one the largest and most successful companies in healthcare, focusing on performance improvement, its CEO, Susan DeVore, has personal as well as professional reasons for seeking to transform the healthcare industry.


Her mother died of hospital-acquired sepsis, and her grandson had a major health scare in dealing with a severe hip infection that appeared during a hospitalization. She says her family is far from unique in that regard.


“Anybody who’s interacted with our healthcare system has experienced the fragmentation, the lack of coordination and the misaligned incentives,” DeVore says. “It makes it very hard to navigate. And when you have people who are vulnerable or fragile and put them in that system, there are opportunities for things to slip through the cracks that can have significant implications. There are things in your life that happen to you that you’ll never forget.”


The experiences have left her determined to make a difference in the quality and safety at America’s health institutions, although she maintains that we nonetheless have “tremendous healthcare” in this country.


“It does drive me,” she says. “It does keep me focused on the importance of this work. We want to solve problems before they become unsolvable. Premier is doing important work, and to be able to do it in scalable ways across the country for current Americans and future generations are what get me up every day. This is the best possible place that I could be to try to help drive that transformation.”


While there is much uncertainty and confusion over the future of healthcare, DeVore says she doesn’t think government is well-suited to steer the changes that are needed; they have to come from within the system.


“I don’t think government can solve the challenges. I don’t think insurance companies by themselves can solve the challenges,” she says. “I actually think healthcare has to be reformed and transformed from the inside.”


And Premier, which works with more than 3,700 hospitals across the country, handling everything from data analytics to national collaboratives to group purchasing, hopes to accelerate the pace of change in the industry.


“We have a big footprint,” admits DeVore. “About 85 percent of our healthcare systems would say we’re a strategic partner or an extension of themselves, as opposed to a vendor of services or technology. And, because we sit inside the healthcare systems, and because we have a tremendous amount of data and insight, we can collaborate and innovate with them, and have them be our test bed for ideas.”


That footprint is growing. Premier recently purchased Lincare’s specialty pharma business and also bought two continuum-of-care companies. It has expanded its collaboration with pharmaceutical giant Merck on chronic care and also has launched a partnership with the American Society of Anesthesiologists to test methods to tackle the opioid epidemic. They’ll work to address post-operative pain management in a number of Premier-affiliated hospitals.


“We can help advance policy changes and we can help advance how hospitals improve,” DeVore says. “When I came to Premier 13 years ago, I saw this incredible relationship with healthcare systems, with lots of data, and the ability to have an impact that is continuous as opposed to episodic. It’s a model that doesn’t exist in a lot of other places.”


The awards that Premier has garnered don’t exist in a lot of other places either. It’s a past winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and, for the past 10 years running, has been named one of the world’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute.


While Premier has flourished under DeVore’s leadership, she’s nonchalant about her own achievements. During talks with college students (and with her Premier staff as well), she is known to ask them what their superpower is, with the notion that passion unlocks stellar work – and superpowers working together in a team lead to great innovation. But ask her about her own superpower, and there’s nothing flashy about her answer.


“I think my superpower is the ability to assimilate and solve puzzles, and navigate around, under and over problems to get to the end goal,” she says. “I’d describe it as a navigation skill. I’m trying to see things that aren’t easy to see and to put the puzzle pieces together in a different way to solve problems or capture opportunities.”


With healthcare’s convoluted issues looking like a damaged Rubik’s cube, Premier’s healthcare members are probably glad she’s on the case.



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