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Leadership development and experiences construct a strong foundation for Geisinger's Ryu

By | August 27 th,  2018 | Geisinger, Jaewon Ryu, Leadership Development, Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, physician leadership | Add A Comment



Jaewon Ryu, the executive vice president and chief medical officer for Geisinger Health System, trained as both a physician and a lawyer, but says his greatest leadership development came through experiences like the White House Fellows (WHF) Program, a yearlong, non-partisan education program that places early/mid-career people in high-level cabinet offices and trains them for leadership and public service.


“Whether training or working as an attorney or a physician, nowhere in that process do you really learn leadership,” says Ryu, a native of suburban Chicago. “You pick up some skills along the way through your training and work, but the WHF Program was a wonderful way to immerse in leadership development – seeing how decisions are made within complex organizations, being able to hear from great leaders, and taking on projects to apply these learnings.”


Ryu’s description is apt. Many healthcare executives, including clinical leaders, might believe that taking a seminar or getting a few sessions of executive coaching fortifies them for the work of leadership. But trained, focused work in leadership development is best accomplished with trained facilitators and convened as part of a thoughtful program within a team, allowing a leadership group to find alignment and cohesion. ...


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Decisive leadership: Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen sees the ER as a valuable training ground for physician leaders

By | August 13 th,  2018 | Leana Wen, women leaders, physician leadership, Top 25 Minority Executives | Add A Comment

WenThe number of physicians and nurses transforming into administrative leaders capable of running major organizations is growing rapidly.


In the age of value-based care, organizations are leaning on clinicians to lean in to leadership. This opens new vistas for physicians and nurses, but health systems and insurers must do their homework. A physician who heads his or her own practice may have valuable leadership skills, but leading, say, a staff of 12 is different from overseeing a $2 billion budget and ensuring a board and a C-suite are in sync with your vision.


One such physician who has made the jump is Leana Wen, MD, the Baltimore City Health Commissioner, who leads a staff of 1,000 employees. Since being named to the role in December 2014, Wen has shown a predilection for taking decisive action, perhaps unsurprising as someone trained as an emergency room physician:

  • She led the creation of Vision for Baltimore, which provides free eye exams and glasses to children in grades K-8 in all Baltimore City public schools. She created a partnership with the schools, Johns Hopkins, the glasses manufacturer Warby Parker, and a national nonprofit, Vision to Learn, to make it happen. “That’s an example of directly translating policy into action,” she says.
  • Wen was a pioneer as a public-health leader in issuing a standing prescription for all Baltimore residents to obtain and administer naloxone, the antidote that can save a person’s life in the event of an opioid overdose. “Since then, residents have saved the lives of more than 2,500 fellow residents in the last two and a half years,” she says.
  • She supported the expansion of a program called Safe Streets, which calls upon former felons to intercede and help defuse tense situations in Baltimore. She also employs people who are in recovery from addiction, others who are living with HIV, and still others who learned about lead poisoning from home visits from the health department and now are outreach workers themselves. “It is my obligation as a leader to ensure a workplace of diversity, equity and respect, and it’s my privilege to work with those who are using their lived experience to help lift up others in similar circumstances,” Wen says.

Decisive leadership is at a premium these days. Writing in Forbes, leadership expert Sunnie Giles points out that the increasingly complex world in which we live can be paralyzing for leaders. Those who can adapt, like Wen, and use the complexity as a positive catalyst for their team are poised for success.


Decisive leaders should:

  • Accurately define the challenge – gathering as much information as possible in a short period of time from a number of reliable sources, being sure to gain a better holistic picture from all sides of the issue
  • Encourage constructive discourse surrounding the challenge and possible solutions and alternatives
  • Act quickly to set a course of action
  • Support the execution of that action plan by breaking down hurdles and providing additional direction as needed

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The ER as a leadership crucible


Wen’s transition from physician to leader had some elements of a baptism by fire. She was greeted with a measles outbreak erupting at the same time as several possible Ebola cases. Three months after she became health commissioner, Freddie Gray, an unarmed African-American man, died in police custody and riots ensued. In all, 13 pharmacies were burned down or closed. “We had to figure out how to get people food, and how to get seniors their medications because their pharmacies were closed,” Wen says. “We had to figure out how to get people to dialysis, chemotherapy and other life-saving treatments.”


Leading her team, in collaboration with city, state, federal, and private sector partners, she figured it out quickly. So quickly that, a year later, the American Public Health Association honored her with its highest award for local public work, the Milton and Ruth Roemer Award. Achievements have come through steely determination for Wen, who grew up as the child of Chinese political dissidents in a rough Los Angeles neighborhood.


Nonetheless, she graduated from college at 18, became a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford, and completed her medical training at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital before becoming Director of Patient-Centered Care Research and an attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Wen sees three direct correlations between her ER work and her leadership role now.


“Working in the emergency department is all about doing what you can right now,” she says. “That bias to action is the same bias that is necessary in public health where there are so many urgent matters that demand our attention.”


The second lesson is “assisting those who are most vulnerable,” she says. The naloxone prescription that has saved so many people from opioid deaths is one example of this, as is providing something as basic as glasses to children who are in need.


Finally, Wen says she learned the importance of speaking up. “In the ER setting, you can never wait to speak up,” she notes. “If there’s something that you suspect is wrong, you need to speak up right now. And that directly translates into the workplace. There are many issues we need to speak up on right now, including issues of discrimination and harassment, health as a human right, the cost of prescription drugs, and evidence-based, science-based programs like teen pregnancy prevention.”


Even for those not in public health or policy-oriented roles, clinicians can sometimes underestimate the power of their voice in the age of patient-centered care. While it is true that healthcare administrators often have years of mentoring and on-the-job training for executive roles, physicians can be prepared for new opportunities through accelerated physician leadership training.

This type of training allows physicians to gain valuable skills and insights into leadership principles that challenge their core training. By working through real world scenarios, physicians can begin applying these principles right away. In our experience, many notice impactful outcomes within weeks with this type of leadership development and support.


The goal is to bring the physician from thinking in terms of their solitary influence on the goal to shift them into leading an enterprise, which takes a much broader perspective. An accelerated physician leadership training uses three phases:


Coaching and mentoring – which moves them through the leading self to leading others


Collaboration and change management – which transitions them into leading the business


Driving systemic change – which allows them to lead the enterprise

It’s no easy task to work through these phases, especially without the proper guidance. The accelerated nature of these programs helps physicians gain in months and years what may have been elusive in that solitary mindset within which they were trained to operate.   


Diverse voices matter at the top


As an immigrant, Wen experienced vivid episodes that crystallized for her the importance of speaking up.


Shortly after arriving in the U.S., Wen saw a neighbor die from an asthma attack; his grandmother was too afraid to call an ambulance because of their family’s immigration status. And the #MeToo groundswell in the last year refreshed Wen’s memory of watching her mother come home from a job at a video store sobbing because of an unnamed incident that occurred with her physically and verbally abusive boss.


“I have always thought from that time, that if I’m ever in a position of leadership where I can do something about these things, I need to speak up for her and for so many women who have suffered in silence.”


Wen has done just that. She’s proud to have recruited a diverse leadership team. Her Chief of Staff and all three of her deputies are women. She actively recruits from the communities the Health Department serves.


Commitment to diversity is a powerful engine to create organizations that are more profitable and thoughtful as they face the business world externally, and catalysts for employee engagement and leadership development internally. Leaders at the top of an organization should not underestimate the power they have to recalibrate an organization’s perspective, because many challenges remain, something Wen knows personally.


 “As a minority and a female, I have faced entrenched racism and sexism,” she says.


Some are mundane – patients requesting to see the “real” doctor, or CEOs calling her by her first name while addressing her male counterparts by their titles. Some are overt – “at one event, I was introduced as a ‘cute little thing’ and openly questioned on how a female person of color can lead 1,000 people.”


How to overcome that?


“We must foster a culture of diversity, inclusion and equity,” Wen says. “The key to doing that is for boards and management teams to have diverse leadership. We cannot expect for others to do what we are not willing to do ourselves.”


EXECUTIVE’S TOOLKIT: Strategies for physicians moving into leadership roles


Looking back, Wen sees several lessons that can help her fellow doctors if they choose to become physician executives leading the entire enterprise:

  • “Be intentional as you consider your move. Working clinically gives you many leadership skills. Channel these skills into leading on a different level.”
  • “Find multiple mentors from within and outside your organization who can help guide you and problem-solve. Gain management experience.”
  • And, finally: “Never forget why it is that you are here: to serve our most vulnerable individuals during their time of need.”

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Top 25 Minority Executives: MetroHealth chief lobbyist Tracy Carter outlines 3 key traits for mission-focused executives

By | August 6 th,  2018 | Tracy Carter, Medicaid, MetroHealth | Add A Comment


Tracy Carter



As the chief lobbyist for MetroHealth, the second largest public hospital in Ohio, Tracy Carter measures the success of her leadership a little differently than a typical hospital executive.


“It’s been my most significant work,” she says of lobbying. “Whenever you can partner with legislators to enact policy to impact millions of people, that’s gratifying.”


Carter’s patient-centered focus is on Medicaid patients, some of the most vulnerable in our country, she says. She refutes stereotypes of the typical Medicaid patient, noting that “some of them are working three jobs just to get by.”


“Tracy partners with legislators to serve patients,” notes Akram Boutros, MD, president and CEO of MetroHealth. “Her leadership has helped thousands access Medicaid coverage.”


In most companies, financial results are a key measure of a leader’s effectiveness and here, too, is a measure of Carter’s resolve and success.


In an atmosphere where Medicaid has many detractors and opponents, Carter not only successfully led efforts to preserve coverage for thousands, she also equipped her team to effectively lobby against millions in rate cuts while accessing a government program that will strengthen the hospital’s ability to serve Medicaid patients over the next two years.


“The blessing,” she says, “is that we have a good relationship with the Department of Medicaid to go in and say, ‘Are you aware of this unintended consequence to Ohioans if you adopt this policy? Could we consider another solution? We appreciate the partnership we have with federal and state leaders to benefit patients.”


Mission-focused leadership


In a typical organization, a leader must generate internal buy-in and commitment as the members of the team strive toward the same goal. Employee engagement and alignment to a business plan or the vision and values of a company are an important focus. Yet, in lobbying, leaders must create consensus and even convince opponents to completely change their thinking on an issue. That can be a taller task.


“Sometimes, it feels like we deal with the same issues but on different days,” she says. “It’s like playing whack-a-mole. We tackle one issue and it pops up again in another form. This lobbying work is not for the weary. You have to stay focused on the patient and that’s what fuels you to keep fighting.”


While the mission of healthcare is a compelling focus for many health-system CEOs, the best are able to find ways to innovate and achieve business goals – which enables them to expand and reach more patients.


In Carter’s 30 years in healthcare, she has worked with a variety of leaders in her time at MetroHealth and the Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. She says the best have always been able to “adapt quickly” to a changing environment. They’ve also been good at spotting gaps in their leadership teams and recruiting and developing talent to shore up those areas.

She’s also seen the needs of health systems and their patients change dramatically. Going forward, Carter says she believes the most successful healthcare leaders need the following traits:

  • A resolve to be patient-centered. “Leaders need to be bold in saying that we can do better by our patients. We’re closest to them and know what is needed to yield better service and value to them. Organizations will continue to thrive if they are patient-centered.”
  • A dedication to empowering their leadership team. “Good leaders invest in their most valuable asset—staff. Ensuring staff members have the necessary education, training and support to be successful is a leader’s primary responsibility.”
  • An ability to be inspirational. “There’s a lot of uncertainty going on in healthcare but, through it all, if you can inspire people to stay the course, and stay focused on the patient, all will be well. You won’t veer too far from your mission, vision and values. That’s what’s going to hold you through the good times and the bad times.”

How do you develop a mission-focused team? Once you have organized your leadership team, whether through promotion or recruitment, the task of leadership development isn’t finished – in fact, it’s just beginning.


The leaders on your team need alignment on the vision, mission and values of the organization, not simply their department. Assessment and executive development can ensure that your leaders are meshing and executing well. Think of a rowing team, where the members move as one with powerful results.


Enhancing leaders through mentorship


Mentors help too. Statistics from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) reveal that 71 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 have a mentorship program. The ASTD also reported that 75 percent of leaders in the private sector said that having a mentor helped them attain their current position. Carter credits Dr. Al Gilbert, the now-retired CEO of Summa Health, with playing a major role in her life.


He did more than just mentor her throughout college via the Inroads program, which provided minority students with role models and summer employment. Gilbert became her champion. He encouraged her to get a master’s in health administration at the University of Michigan and he gave her a fellowship and eventually a permanent job after she finished.


Gilbert also shaped her recognition of the responsibilities of leadership with his early dedication to diversity in healthcare leadership.


“He was very influential and intentional with diversity,” Carter says. “He worked in an environment where he didn’t see women and minorities ascending to the top, and when he got into a place of leadership, he said, ‘I can do something about that.’ And he did. Imagine what would happen if more CEOs used their power to advance diversity like my mentor did.”


As a leader, you have much to offer your organization. Whether you are part of the C-suite or the board, you have the privilege of extending your organization’s mission by mentoring and championing other leaders.


Mentorship is shown to improve employee engagement and job satisfaction, both for the mentor and the mentee.


You may want to consider identifying possible mentorship roles for your leadership team, and ways to work together with the board to ensure that diversity of thought and experience is built into the leadership and governance structure of your organization.


Diverse teams deliver success


In studies, diverse leadership teams have been proven to be more financially successful and innovative than a monolith. Researchers from North Carolina State University and Portland State University recently studied ethnic and gender diversity. They found that companies with policies in place that value diversity “are more innovative, value intangibles and human capital more highly, have greater growth options, have higher cash flow and have stronger governance.”


Ethnic and gender diversity not only improve employee engagement internally but, in the case of hospitals and health systems, achieve the need for leaders to reflect the communities and patient populations they serve.


Now that she is an industry leader herself, Carter says more diversity in leadership needs to come from the boardroom if it is to take root in an organization.


“It’s not going happen by itself. You’ve got to have people in power to transform the complexion of the governance and leadership structures. I’m in an organization now that’s making significant strides – diversity is something that our top leaders value and practice. And that’s what I appreciate about them.


“They’re about action more than words.”


EXECUTIVE’S TOOLKIT: Driving diversity through action


Some in business are beginning to refer to "DEI" efforts and measurements (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) in showing how interconnected these concepts are. And, in healthcare especially, equity remains a driving force in our actions around diversity.


Laura Sherbin and Ripa Rashid of the Center for Talent Innovation cite four factors that can turn diversity into inclusion:

  • Inclusive leaders who create a safe environment for team members to share opinions and new ideas, and who share credit and empower team members to make decisions.
  • Authenticity is closely tied to this, allowing team members to share their true selves instead of being fearful to express individual traits that don’t conform to the company norm.
  • Creating opportunities for networking and visibility that address leadership gaps through true sponsorship and championing of executives who merit promotion.
  • Clarifying career paths for people who are not Caucasian males. This greatly affects women (45 percent of whom leave a career path, even if it is temporary, to take care of children), but also ethnic minorities and LGBT workers. "Ironically," note Sherbin and Rashid, "it’s usually the majority group that presumes to identify the reason these people aren’t advancing."

Think about the organizations that you consider most effective in advancing diverse leaders into top positions. Does their commitment start at the board level? What are the best leadership development experiences that you have benefited from?


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At Top 25 Minority Executives gala, diversity and inclusion are championed as 'strategic assets'

By | July 25 th,  2018 | Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, Deanna Banks, leadership | Add A Comment

Top25-Banks-2018Furst Group and NuBrick Partners, the companies of MPI, joined with Modern Healthcare recently to honor the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare at the Radisson Blu in Chicago.


Deanna Banks (pictured, at right), a Furst Group principal, started the evening off with strong comments about the need for more diversity and inclusion in healthcare leadership, noting that they are "strategic assets" that should be deployed for maximum impact.


She recounted stories of how Top 25 honorees like Pam Sutton-Wallace, CEO of the University of Virginia Medical Center, and Gene Woods, CEO of Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System), led efforts to bring healing to their communities after racial turmoil.


"We encourage you to use your unique abilities and voices to continue educating and motivating our industry to be accountable for diversity and inclusion," she concluded. "Talk is not enough; actions drive forward momentum."


Watch this space for interviews throughout 2018 with many of the honorees. Please click here to read articles on 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.



Search Insights: Akron Children's Hospital CHRO Search

By | July 19 th,  2018 | Search Insights | Add A Comment

When going to market with any search you need to be armed with some background and expertise on how to find the best talent, but you also learn some things along the way. These insights help refine the search goals and expectations, which provide direction for tactics within the search itself, but also help develop and align your long-term talent strategies for future success. 


Challenge: Akron Children's Hospital was looking for a CHRO to join their executive team as a true strategic partner. Their ideal candidate was someone who is:

  • Knowledgeable about the industry and competitive intelligence
  • Adept at understanding the strengths of and challenges faced by each leader and team within the organization
  • Able to use this knowledge and understanding to drive strategic change and alignment between the overall business goals and the talent strategy

Akron’s definition of an ideal CHRO is not unique, but in our experience more than 30% of healthcare organizations still have not adopted this vision of executive team effectiveness. It’s also interesting to note that a large majority of those that have adopted this vision still struggle to fully empower their CHRO to excel in these crucial areas.


During this search, we learned a lot about the CHRO candidates and the talent market that we thought you might find interesting and helpful too. The infographic below tells you how many candidates had master's degrees, how many were sitting CHROs, how many of the candidates were ethnically diverse and much more! Click on the image to view all of the insights: 




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4 takeaways from NAHSE C-suite roundtable

By | July 17 th,  2018 | NAHSE, diversity, C-suite, Healthcare, healthcare executives | 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 | SreyRam Kuy, diversity, physician leadership | 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, inclusion, leadership | 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 visit our Guide to Diversity and Inclusion.


Announcing the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare - 2018

By | February 26 th,  2018 | Blog, diversity, Modern Healthcare, Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare | 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 | Big Data Usage in Healthcare Applications, Blog, Digital Transformation, Healthcare, Healthcare Reimbursement Models, Healthcare Systems, Industry Reports, Insurance Transformation, Leadership Structures, Patient Care Experience, Patient Life Cycle | 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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