4 thoughts from female healthcare leaders on encouraging innovation

Leaders often say they want to encourage innovation and disruption, but few people actually know what steps they can take to turn their rhetoric into action.

Johnese Spisso, president of UC Los Angeles Health, CEO and associate vice chancellor of Health Sciences, UC Los Angeles Hospital System; Airica Steed, EdD, system vice president of clinical services lines at Chicago-based Presence Health ; Teri Fontenot, president and CEO of Baton Rouge, La.-based Woman's Hospital; and Gina Mazzariello of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, gathered to discuss the issue of innovation at Becker's Hospital Review's 6th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable, which took place Nov. 13 to Nov. 15.

Here are four thoughts from female healthcare leaders on how to be innovative in the healthcare sector.

1. "Don't be afraid of embracing failure, don't be afraid of embracing adversity. Adversity has been my most significant fuel; it's driven me and I can tell you today I'm very passionate about overcoming obstacles. Embrace those failures and setbacks and don't take a failure as a failure but a life lesson," Dr. Steed said.

2. "As a pharmaceutical company, our stated mission and vision is value through innovation, and we recognize that innovating real medical products is core to our business, but we also recognize that going forward we need to do a lot more than that," Ms. Mazzariello said. "And that's a big mind shift for a pharma company, defining success as 'Did I think of anything creative today?'"

3. "We implemented bonus and incentive plans for all employees. The overlap in those two plans in that there are four or five quality measures that everyone gets rewarded for achieving,  and by focusing everyone on all those, our frontline staff has come up with great measures that we would never have never been able to hear about otherwise," Ms. Fontenot said. "It really requires a team effort and alignment through mission and financial reward to make sure that innovation really sticks in an organization."

4. "To implement innovation, there must be ways that make sure the information really cascades throughout the organization and the first priority is an aligned and accountable leadership team," Ms. Spisso said. "Communication early and often is important but also there's a need for just-in-time communication. We need to think about a multicultural and multigenerational workforce, so we use a variety of tools from text messages to in-person town hall meetings."

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