Breaking Out of the Health Care Abyss: Insights from Industry Experts

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
CAHME

What is a Professional?

What defines a professional is how you contribute to the profession. CAHME’s nearly 50 year history is based on the commitment of practitioners and academics. This past week, I got to see that in action at two events.

43,000 professionals gathered in Orlando at the annual HIMSS conference. HIMSS is a longstanding corporate member of CAHME. At the conference, I saw remarkable applications, particularly those from two CAHME award sponsors, Canon and Cerner. Epic, who provided a donation to CAHME last year, presented their “Healthy Planet” module. While these organizations give back to the profession through CAHME, it is obvious that they are furthering healthcare management with innovative services. CAHME is thankful for their support.

At the end of the week I went to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health Administration Case Competition. Students from 39 CAHME accredited programs sent their best and brightest to participate. The team from Boston University Questrom School of Business won among a talented group of finalists that included the University of Alabama, George Mason University, University of Washington, University of Florida, and Ohio State University. The case featured Bon Secours Baltimore Health System, serving a socio-economically challenged West Baltimore. Thanks to Maha Sampath, Bon Secours Director of the Health Enterprise Zone, and a graduate from CAHME-accredited George Washington University for her efforts in putting the case together.


Top left: Frank Coyne, CAHME Board Member, confers with other judges in preparation for the UAB Case Competition. Top right: I describe how the CAHME-Canon Award encourage sustainability in our programs at the 2017 HIMSS Conference. Bottom left: The winning Boston University program team. Bottom right: A memorable emotional presentation from another finalist, the team at the University of Washington.

An event like the UAB Case Competition happens only with the commitment of dedicated professionals, which is evident from the support from UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany whose system financially supports the event. The UAB School of Health Professions team, notably Christy Lemak, Randa Hall, and Denise Hamilton, put in a lot of extra hours in coordinating the details.
 
As to the faculty advisors…well, let me say that this was a shining moment for you.  Your commitment was evident in the performance of your teams. And the pride that shown on your faces was no less than that of a parent watching their children succeed.

Professionals such as CAHME Board Member Frank Coyne were among the luminaries who donated their time as judges. To me, “coach” may be a better term, as they served to not just evaluate the teams but also to provide advice. Think of the TV show “The Voice”, but temper that with how students from these teams will have long term impact on the profession of health care and the communities that they serve.
 
While a week living out of a suitcase is not much fun, it is invigorating knowing how much executives care about our profession, how dedicated our faculty are to educating the next generation of healthcare leaders, and how promising our young people are who take up the noble cause of providing healthcare. We are all the better because of it.

(PS – a special shout out to the team from CUNY. You know why.)

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO
CAHME