Why Questioning the Status Quo Builds Better Leaders to “Think Different”

There’s a post that I read a while back on Inc. that keeps coming back to me. “Why Great Leaders Question the Status Quo: Being a thoughtful, creative leader means moving beyond the confines of tradition,” was written by Micah Solomon.

We all know of great thinkers and business leaders who question the status quo, and Solomon cites the late Steve Jobs of Apple as a prime example. The indelibly memorable “Think Different” advertising campaign that helped bring Apple back from the brink in 1997 completely highlighted the fact that Apple products and its leader were different from the rest of the world.

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The Lessons We Can Learn from RadioShack

I’ve written before about lessons the healthcare industry can learn from the general business community. The story of the eventual collapse of 94-year old RadioShack, as posted by Becker’s Hospital Review, is another great lesson we can learn – and a cautionary tale for us all. As Tamara Rosin wrote:

RadioShack, like all businesses, is not immune to the impacts of changing technology and evolving consumer forces. Adaptability, business savvy, connectivity with consumers and strong leadership are critical for sustaining in a fast-paced market.

Ms. Rosin then goes on to list some key lessons to prevent your hospital from going the way of RadioShack.

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Can Imitation Be More Beneficial than Innovation? The Answer May Surprise You

Innovation is the engine of change. And, as a recent Harvard Business Review post noted, “Health care is infatuated with innovation.” After all, innovation is how we’ve evolved as a society.

But what about imitation? Can our industry benefit from that?

The HBR post, titled “Health Care Needs Less Innovation and More Imitation” goes on to note that some health systems are emulating an approach adapted by Cisco Systems. Cisco doesn’t just invest in its own research; the company also teams up with partners that have promising products.

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Survival of the Fittest: Is Your Healthcare Organization Adapting?

Integration is a topic I am very interested in. It is a large part of what we do and I pay close attention to integration-related discussions and articles. Recently, I came across this HealthLeaders interview with Joe Gifford, MD, the CEO of the Providence-Swedish Health Alliance, which speaks to this very topic.

With the continual changes the healthcare industry has experienced, the mantra of “adapt or die,” has been heard before. But according to Mr. Gifford, that analogy to evolution biology really rings true. His take? Only organizations that take chances (adapt) will survive.

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C-Suite Strategy for Successful Change: Integration is the key to reinvent healthcare

Recently, Becker’s Hospital Review convened 20 CEOs from a diverse cross-section of healthcare delivery systems around the U.S. The purpose was to learn what they (and other C-suite leaders) are doing to successfully adapt to the unprecedented change our industry is experiencing and to also examine the myriad challenges they face along the way.

One significant conclusion: in order to create successful and integrated delivery models, it’s imperative that healthcare systems break through legacy silos and acknowledge the important co-existence of horizontal and vertical integration—across boundaries of care, within and outside of a hospital structure.

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Healthcare Providers Are Feeling the Squeeze: Cost-cutting alone just won’t cut it

“Healthcare providers as a group continue to operate with slim and shrinking margins,” according to recent analysis from Modern Healthcare. Sadly, that’s not a surprise to most of us. The study—which included acute-care, post-acute care, rehabilitation and specialty hospital groups as well as stand-alone hospitals— found that the average operating margin in 2013 was 3.1%, which was down from 3.6% in 2012. Over 61% of organizations saw their operating margins erode over the previous year.

While we’ve seen this coming, the news is sobering. And analysts are skeptical that the worst is over. According to Modern Healthcare, all three credit-rating agencies hold negative outlooks for the not-for-profit healthcare sector.

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Lessons Learned From Wal-Mart: What hospitals can learn about reinvention

A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review began: When a successful innovator like Wal-Mart is urgently reinventing itself, America’s hospital executives should take note.

Indeed.

For years, Wal-Mart has been the envy of retailers, driven by a huge buyer base, new technology and a very tight supply chain. But things began to shift and the economy wasn’t the only reason that the retail giant had five straight quarters of negative U.S. sales and six quarters of declining store traffic. There were weaknesses in Wal-Mart’s basic business model, which had always worked, until they didn’t. 

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What if the Hospital of the Future is Not a Hospital?

What will the hospital of the future look like? Not that much like hospitals looked 10 years ago according to an article in HealthLeaders. That conclusion is probably not a huge surprise to those of us in healthcare who have seen the shift away from an inpatient setting as the primary care modality. And while inpatient care may still be the anchor of many health systems, its role in the continuum of care is dramatically changing.

Author Phil Betbeze writes that the hospital of the future will be “a cohesive amalgamation of plenty of outpatient modalities that represent growth in healthcare.” He goes on to point out that while this shift doesn’t mean new patient towers won’t be constructed, it does mean that any construction undertaken “will be based on adaptability, patient flow and efficiency gains.”

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Most Wired Hospitals

Hospitals & Health Networks, the magazine of the American Hospital Association recently released its list of the “Most Wired Hospitals, 2014.” On this notable list were a number of MedSpeed partners including UPMC, Advocate, Avera, Inova, Rush and Orlando Health. Congratulations to those and the other institutions recognized.

According to the cover story announcing the 16th annual Hospitals & Health Networks’ Most Wired list, hospitals that top the list employ a strategy around second-curve metrics to align health systems, physicians, clinical and nonclinical people across the continuum of care. Wired hospitals have effectively deployed a variety of foundational technologies and now have their eyes on data analytics and population health management.

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In This Era of Big Data, Avoid Being Data Rich and Information Poor

We live in the era of “big data.” It’s a term we come across on a nearly daily basis. The biggest problem with big data—pardon the play on words—is that data alone without insight can leave you information poor.

Recently, at Becker’s Hospital Review 5th Annual Meeting, one of the keynote speakers, Toby Cosgrove, MD, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, touched on how his organization was dealing with big data through its spin-off Explorys, which ties together disparate healthcare data from providers, payers, care settings and EMRs. The goal of Explorys is to help the Cleveland Clinic and other healthcare organizations manage and make sense of big data: because data is only data, unless you know how to utilize it to make improvements.

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