Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Ten CEO Imperatives for Healthcare Transformation: Lessons from Top-Performing Academic Medical Centers

Academic journal article Journal of Healthcare Management

PRACTITIONER APPLICATION: Ten CEO Imperatives for Healthcare Transformation: Lessons from Top-Performing Academic Medical Centers

Article excerpt

The experience of change can be likened to a gymnast's vault routine-demanding timing, skill, and attention to every step of execution while managing the sensation of hurtling forward at high speed. Coaching, confidence, composure, balance, and an ability to land firmly on two feet are all required to nail the landing when making the leap for transformational change.

My hat is off to Chatfield et al. for their timely investigation of imperatives for healthcare transformation shared by CEOs who have vaulted successfully through change. I read the lessons of my colleagues at high-performing academic medical centers (AMCs) with great interest, and their words served as reminders of the essential principles that the fields of leadership and change management hold. In particular:

* Put patients first in messaging and action during organizational transformation. Regardless of the creative work that marketing departments do to craft taglines, "it's about the patients" (or, for those in pediatric AMCs, "it's about the kids") likely is the unofficial, internal tagline. This is demonstrated to me often, most recently while reflecting on and selecting a new institutional vision statement. The feedback focused on patients and families as paramount concerns.

* There is always more work to be done-work that probably warrants doing. Healthcare is indeed a team sport. When it is not carried out as such, the care of the patient inevitably suffers, and providers do not derive the satisfaction that led them to their fields. In academic medicine, I have found that there can be a tendency to give ourselves a pass, thinking that, because our care is multidisciplinary, we have little to learn about team dynamics. Pressures facing the industry suggest otherwise and require us to expand the team across the care continuum, ensuring that all caregivers are operating at the top of their license and that patients and families are engaged as members of the care team. This is leadership that should not be underestimated by any healthcare organization, and it calls on clinical leaders to play signature roles.

* Striking a balance between accountability and appreciation is key. …

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