At the 2017 Bon Secours Health System retreat in Charleston, Peter Maddox and I discussed the mission of Bon Secours that is focused on the health of the community. We both recalled that it was not too long ago that hospital mission statements focused on being the “global leader”, or “providing world class technology”. While arguably relevant for major teaching hospitals, “world class” wording was common (and misplaced) in many community hospitals and embraced at the expense of the community in teaching facilities as hospitals rushed to win the technology wars that contributed to runaway healthcare costs. The times have changed for the better.
Peter and former CAHME Chair (and good friend), Tom Royer, teamed up with Jay Herron to explore how much things have changed in their just released book “Breaking out of the Healthcare Abyss: Transformation Tips for Agents of Healthcare Change,” available on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble. They challenge established paradigms and show examples of how past management beliefs led to myopic management. During times of turbulence, Royer/Maddox/Herron argue that existing management concepts, patterns of behavior and expectations for future results need to be re-imagined and re-engineered.
Drawn from their combined 100 plus years of healthcare experience, the book provides stories that highlight the skills needed by healthcare leaders. These include how to deescalate confrontation (don’t miss the doctor and the chair story!), why branding mattered at CHRISTUS Health, and how a thank you note made a difference to a surgeon at Johns Hopkins.
“Healthcare is a big mess,” they begin, “impossible to fully understand, much less control.” But then Royer/Maddox/Herron outline how to succeed. More importantly, they inspire us as to why we must succeed. Their call for strong leaders is consistent with the mission of CAHME. “Strong leaders must do what is necessary and right, and implement it.” I would add that graduate healthcare management programs need to nurture high integrity leaders, and provide them with the academic rigor and moral guidance to ensure that they understand that healthcare is not all about money. It is about people. It is about the broader community. It is about our humanity.
I highly recommend this book for CAHME programs to consider to assign to students. While not a long read, it is an important one. Hope you pick up a copy.
Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO