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Why Leadership in Healthcare Matters

Good leadership in healthcare is critical to the success of the industry’s transformation, but it’s the subject few want to discuss. We are fooling ourselves if we believe that technology and data alone will solve the challenges currently facing our healthcare system. The industry is undergoing a significant change and any change management program indicates that executive sponsorship or leadership is a critical success factor. Yet, when I speak at conferences around the world, leadership is the number one topic I receive follow up comments about. The presentation could be on healthcare transformation, population health, precision medicine or healthcare analytics – none of which can be implemented without good leadership. I could spend 5 minutes or 50 minutes on leadership, and have consistently found that leadership is the area people want to comment on the most. It’s the subject no one wants to talk about, but everyone wants to hear about.

If you are still skeptical, let me point you to a study we did a few years ago on the challenges to implementing healthcare analytics. Participants at a conference were asked to indicate the top challenges they faced in implementing analytics at their healthcare organization. The results were classified into 10 categories for further examination and included the usual suspects such as analytics tools, data management, talent and technology. Leadership, at 29%, was considered the top challenge by a wide margin and included common terms/phrases such as “lack of priority”, “lack of vision”, “need for buy-in from staff” and “lack of direction”, but also included “disparate EHR systems”, “siloed systems” and “teams not working together”. These issues can all be resolved through proper leadership.

Even more surprising was the source of these comments. As part of the study, the participants were asked to include their title on the survey form. The results indicated that all levels of the organization were represented. The titles were summarized into wide span of control which included positions director level and above and narrow span of control which included all others. When titles were matched back to the individual challenges we discovered that there was little disparity between responses based on the organization level, especially in the leadership category. The lack of difference between the job types identifying leadership as a major challenge points to those in leadership positions not fully recognizing their role in the change management process.

This also indicates that the leadership challenges are not just senior management related, but pervasive throughout many healthcare organizations. Generalizing the blame on physician- leaders as the problem is incorrect for many reasons, including:

  1. They have been dealt a very difficult hand by having to transform an entire industry in a short amount of time. Any leader, no matter their background, would be challenged to be successful. Healthcare leaders have been charged with changing a far-reaching healthcare system in a short amount of time. Change that extensive would be difficult for any industry or leader.
  2. Healthcare is very siloed, so the path to the top is typically one-dimensional versus the multi-dimensional paths taken in other industries where executives work in different departments, different business units or even different countries. Healthcare executives typically follow only a couple of routes to the top, which usually only includes clinical, operations, policy, etc.
  3. Many of the top healthcare organizations in the country are run by physicians. In the most recent U.S. News Best Hospitals ranking, 8 out of the top 10 hospitals are led by physicians or clinicians. I have had the opportunity to talk to and even interview several top healthcare leaders for my book Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare. Based on my discussions, it is apparent that these leaders at some point became self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses. As I point out in my book, the leader has a choice to either adapt to the situation or succumb to it. The best ones adapt.

The bottom line is that it’s all about leadership, not matter what the senior executive’s background is. All leaders have shortcomings. The best ones assess what they bring to the table, develop a leadership vision based on their assessment and execute on it every day. Not everyone will be a great leader, but many can become better leaders with the right leadership process. Healthcare leaders have even greater challenges with the rate of change and the lives impacted. Using a personalized, comprehensive and proven approach to leadership is the right prescription.

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  • Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare - SIGNED COPY

    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare - SIGNED COPY

    $19.95
    Now, more than ever, we need leaders in healthcare who are well-versed in all aspects of leadership. Unfortunately, the skills that made healthcare leaders successful in the past may not be enough to be successful in the future. Managing change requires a very special set of skills and abilities.

    "Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare" is based on the proprietary 5-step Professional Leadership Process which is a personalized, leadership development program based on an individual’s innate qualities and strengths. It is designed as a continually improving process to help leaders develop and adapt a personalized leadership vision and philosophy for utilization in their daily leadership routine. It creates better leaders by incorporating the most often overlooked steps that research indicates are essential to better leadership development. Additionally, it includes the leadership perspectives from several healthcare executives, business executives and sports champions.

    Order today and receive your copy signed by Professor Bennett!
    Maximum quantity exceeded
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    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare - SIGNED COPY

    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare - SIGNED COPY

    Now, more than ever, we need leaders in healthcare who are well-versed in all aspects of leadership. Unfortunately, the skills that made healthcare leaders successful in the past may not be enough to be successful in the future. Managing change requires a very special set of skills and abilities.

    "Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare" is based on the proprietary 5-step Professional Leadership Process which is a personalized, leadership development program based on an individual’s innate qualities and strengths. It is designed as a continually improving process to help leaders develop and adapt a personalized leadership vision and philosophy for utilization in their daily leadership routine. It creates better leaders by incorporating the most often overlooked steps that research indicates are essential to better leadership development. Additionally, it includes the leadership perspectives from several healthcare executives, business executives and sports champions.

    Order today and receive your copy signed by Professor Bennett!
    $19.95

    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare - SIGNED COPY

    $19.95
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  • Prescribing Leadership Practice Workbook

    Prescribing Leadership Practice Workbook

    $9.95
    This 20-page companion workbook to the Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare book. It is designed to help you synthesize the contents in the book, document your steps to becoming a better leader and create your leadership gameplan. The workbook features fill-in pages for you to:

    • assess your leadership influences
    • assess your personality and leadership abilities
    • develop a leadership vision
    • develop tools to execute your vision
    • begin regular reflection
    • seek coaches and/or mentors

    It is an essential tool to put the concepts from the book into action.
    Maximum quantity exceeded
    Minimum purchase amount of 0 is required
    Prescribing Leadership Practice Workbook

    Prescribing Leadership Practice Workbook

    This 20-page companion workbook to the Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare book. It is designed to help you synthesize the contents in the book, document your steps to becoming a better leader and create your leadership gameplan. The workbook features fill-in pages for you to:

    • assess your leadership influences
    • assess your personality and leadership abilities
    • develop a leadership vision
    • develop tools to execute your vision
    • begin regular reflection
    • seek coaches and/or mentors

    It is an essential tool to put the concepts from the book into action.
    $9.95

    Prescribing Leadership Practice Workbook

    $9.95
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  • Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare Book and Practice Workbook Combo

    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare Book and Practice Workbook Combo

    $31.90$24.95
    SAVE OVER 20%* WITH THE COMBO

    Purchase the Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare combo and receive a signed copy of the book and the Leadership Practice Workbook. Both items will arrive together after the book is published in mid-July 2017.

    * Off the list price of $31.90 if purchased individually.
    Maximum quantity exceeded
    Minimum purchase amount of 0 is required
    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare Book and Practice Workbook Combo

    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare Book and Practice Workbook Combo

    SAVE OVER 20%* WITH THE COMBO

    Purchase the Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare combo and receive a signed copy of the book and the Leadership Practice Workbook. Both items will arrive together after the book is published in mid-July 2017.

    * Off the list price of $31.90 if purchased individually.
    $31.90 $24.95

    Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare Book and Practice Workbook Combo

    $31.90 $24.95
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Why We Are Not Producing Better Leaders

We are facing a leadership crisis which impacts all aspects of our lives. It affects us in healthcare, government, business, education and in the church. Lack of leadership is shown when a person in a leadership position puts their own needs or personal agenda ahead of those they are charged to lead. Just because someone is in a leadership position does not make them a leader. You can be in a leadership position (supervisor, manager, director, executive, etc.) and not have any leadership abilities. This is called Positional Leadership and occurs when someone has some position of authority but is not practicing any form of leadership. These people are not usually very effective at what they do and only accomplish what they do because of their authority. They were probably promoted to their position because they did their job well at a lower level, but little evaluation was given to their potential for leadership. The better word to describe them is manager, not leader. We have all known people who fall into this category and, unfortunately, many of us may have worked for them.

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Life Imitating Art in Leadership

I was invited to speak at the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) annual retreat in mid-July in Bend, Oregon. The presentation was on my foundational approach to implementing healthcare analytics which included a discussion of the importance of leadership. Based on a study my firm conducted in 2015, we discovered that leadership was the top challenge to implementing healthcare analytics. Not data. Not talent. Not technology.

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The Healthcare Revolution Will Not Be Televised…From Washington D.C.

Category : Healthcare General

This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks now. With the current status of “healthcare reform” in Congress, I thought I should take some time away from putting the final touches on my healthcare leadership book to provide my thoughts on these issues. Speaking of leadership, lesson #1 (which many of us learned in grammar school) is not to claim you can do something when you have no earthly idea how to do, i.e. repeal and replace with something better, with lower premiums and not touch Medicare.

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On Seeing the Future of Health IT for Myself

SAN FRANCISCO — EHRs are everywhere … no, wait, you already know that. What’s more elusive, though, is exactly what the next generation of health IT will look like. But I caught a glimpse last week at the Healthcare IT News Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum.

The usual suspects were on hand: population health and precision medicine, predictive and prescriptive analytics, even natural language processing and, not coincidentally, big data itself.

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Predictive Analytics May Save Healthcare Budgets 15%, Survey Finds

Ninety-three percent of healthcare provider and payer executives agree predictive analytics are important to the future of their business, according to a Society of Actuaries report.

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It’s Time for Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare

The healthcare industry has been charged with making significant changes in the last few years. From value-based care, to population health and now precision medicine. Unfortunately, many hospital systems will not be successful due to the need for better leadership.

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C-suite Buy-in: What Data-Driven Healthcare Orgs Have in Common

SAN FRANCISCO — Though it can be difficult to quantify just when a health organization has embraced analytics, but you usually can tell when its executives are engaged with the data.

“They’re excited about providing solutions to improve quality measures, improve patient outcomes,” said Joycee Berin, director of business intelligence at UCLA Health, at the Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum on Tuesday. “If that’s at the leadership level, I feel we’ve reached analytics maturity.”

In contrast, some in the C-suite may be stuck in old ways of thinking. They either “don’t think analytics is that important,” or else they’re “not engaged with following through on the insights and making sure we improve workflows to gain that better performance based on data insights,” she said.

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Putting the Precision into Precision Medicine

I was invited to speak at Oxford Global’s inaugural Precision Medicine Congress, April 25 and 26 in London, England. My topic, “Big Data Analytics for Precision Medicine”, stood out from the other presentations, as intended, since I was one of few non-clinicians or genomics scientists invited to speak at the Congress but believe that as I professor and data scientist I was able to hold my own. As an added bonus, I had to pleasure to meet a ‘Sir’ and a ‘Dame’, which are knighthood titles bestowed on extraordinary subjects, in recognition of their great achievement or outstanding service to the United Kingdom. Both worked in the healthcare industry either in the public or private sectors.

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5 thoughts on the future of healthcare from Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove

When Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, was a high school junior, his father took him to visit a family friend who was a college professor.

“Naturally, the conversation turned into, ‘What do we need to do to get Toby into college,'” Dr. Cosgrove told the audience during a keynote at Becker’s Hospital Review’s 8th Annual Meeting in Chicago. Rhoda Weiss, PhD, speaker, author, consultant and co-chair of the meeting, moderated the conversation. The professor said he was not interested in Dr. Cosgrove’s IQ, but rather his GQ —  a term that neither Dr. Cosgrove nor his father had heard before.

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