Move it or Lose It!!

If you haven’t yet attended one of Scott Becker’s “CEO/CIO Roundtable” Conferences, do try to make one of his next semi-annual meetings.   Becker assembles a disparate group of speakers and powerhouse hospital luminaries to share best practices in a rather intimate environment, and attendees are absolutely unafraid to challenge moderators and speakers during sessions.

After another great group of sessions and conversations at the Becker’s CEO/CIO Roundtable last week in Chicago, two overarching thoughts struck me:   a) Hospitals have so much change to digest and execute in a short time, and b) Many hospitals haven’t figured out yet how to move faster to make change happen.

One doesn’t envy hospital execs—having to manage and optimize current operations while adapting to an increasing range and volume of extra-hospital business connections and revenues (while reimbursement in that area is being reduced) means changing models while simultaneously leaning out process and cost.  Oh, and don’t forget quality while you handle a whole new set of systems and integration to complete.

Not one session, however, discussed how to make decisions faster.

Few would argue that hospital decision-making culture tends to run toward the hyper-consensual.  How do hospitals adapt, take risks and execute faster while making sure everyone around the giant table is holding hands together?

One hospital CEO did offer a good point:  dropping decision–making about new partnerships, new data models, and motivating physician and clinical staff moves toward quality/value onto existing committees/councils is not optimal.  Think in terms of key stakeholders in the NEW environment you are building and base decision-making solely around those individuals.  Along the way, don’t make perfection the enemy of good.

US Healthcare in 2016 and beyond reminds me of the Auto Industry in the early 80’s.  US Automakers had to adapt to building quality and value simultaneously as they struggled to stem the losses of market share siphoned off by Japanese (and later German) makers ahead of their American counterparts in quality and customer focus.  While US hospitals don’t have to compete with their international counterparts, they clearly now have to adapt to demands from their customer—and increasingly their taxpayer-funded government—to show simultaneous quality improvement and cost reduction.  Those that can change faster will out-perform their market competitors.   Hospitals/IDNs still holding hands together through layers of committees and consensus building may not make it (independently) to the next round.