5 new executive roles, coming to a hospital near you

Healthcare faces constant change: CMS rules are updated regularly, state and federal policies are revised or added often, and new technologies are implemented daily, promising to improve patient outcomes.

On top of that, consumers are demanding healthcare organizations work to meet their needs in ways that are most convenient for them — be that telehealth, transportation to medical appointments or increased access to health data.

This need to address a multitude of new services, alternative modes of care delivery and technology upgrades means new roles within the C-suite are seemingly cropping up overnight, forcing healthcare organizations to either restructure their existing leadership regimes or bring new staff onto their teams. This could entail changing up job descriptions, forging new positions or tacking responsibilities onto existing leaders' plates.

Over the last 40 years, executive search firm Tyler & Company has helped place leaders into top roles at some of the nation's most prominent healthcare facilities, and Tyler & Company President Preston Smith explained he's seen a sea of change in leadership talent, some of which comes from unlikely places.

"Although many of the placements for these positions come from healthcare backgrounds, it is not unusual to see healthcare organizations adopting talented experts from outside industries who are able to bring a fresh perspective to customer experience, hospitality, patient satisfaction, technology improvement and process improvement," Mr. Smith said.

Most recently, Mr. Smith said he's seen highest demand for chief consumer or patient experience officers, chief strategy or transformation officers, and chief diversity and inclusion officers, which focus on vendor diversity and eliminating health disparities.

"Healthcare is one of the most dynamic industries in existence, and it takes a lot of time and energy to adapt to the ever-changing climate," Mr. Smith explained. "If your environment is always changing, it is important that you constantly adapt to mold to these changes."

While chief transformation officers can help organizations adapt to new or changing technologies, and CXOs can inform ways of maximizing patient satisfaction, building strong teams internally is vital to achieving both of those aims. Nearly 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies now employ a chief diversity officer, and that number is growing, Mr. Smith said. "It is important to create an inclusive environment in which all employees have the opportunity for career opportunity and advancement, and an environment where the broad variety of patients are treated by a culturally well-rounded team," he said.

A team comprised of different demographics, backgrounds and experiences fosters an open-minded culture that will drive positive outcomes and leave every party — patients, employees and the business — satisfied.

Here are five other roles Mr. Smith is seeing healthcare organizations add.

1. Population health executives. These are leaders charged with guiding the development and implementation of a health system's population health management strategy. Most chief population health officers are also responsible for building relationships with payers and community partners for value-added collaborations, Mr. Smith explained.

2. Innovation executives. Organizations are increasingly looking to add leaders tasked exclusively with exploring innovative processes and projects to help them stay ahead in the industry.

3. Chief clinical officer. Chief clinical officers work to "elevate physician leadership and bridge operational and clinical silos across the organization," Mr. Smith said.

4. Physician leadership roles. With the emergence of new care delivery models — like value-based payment models or ACOs — healthcare organizations are required to emphasize outcomes and patient satisfaction. Improving quality and reducing variation in patient care play a huge role in achieving great patient reviews, and physician leaders can help set the standard for their peers and colleagues.

5. Chief of staff. "The organization's chief of staff serves as the right hand of the CEO," Mr. Smith explained. But the roles of a healthcare chief of staff depend on the CEO's needs and the organization's demands. A chief of staff may be responsible for supporting internal operations and day-to-day management, or representing and speaking for the organization in public, he adds.

Other executives, like analytics executives, digital executives, technology transfer executives and shared services executives are also on the rise.

Lines blur between roles

As new positions are being added, responsibilities are shifting between various leadership titles.

For example, hospitals' CIOs are becoming key, trusted advisers to their organizations' CEOs. It is now an indispensable position for many healthcare organizations. Now, they often serve on hospital boards — a "change [that] reflects the growing role of technology as it relates to privacy, security, EHRs and patient medical files," Mr. Smith said.

Changing C-suite, changing roles

For someone already in the C-suite looking for a change of pace, Mr. Smith said the secret sauce is a timeless, tried-and-true technique.

"If you are already in the C-suite and are interested in a different role, knowledge is power," he said. "Networking with people you know that are familiar with the role still helps to open doors and integration of operational aspects of the new role into your current role is helpful to show your capacity to handle a cross-functional position."

Executives looking to switch up employers face other unique challenges. Most executives are so busy with their workloads they struggle to make and maintain new connections, Mr. Smith explained. Since most jobs are filled through networking, he recommended regularly keeping up with colleagues and others in the field.

"Don't forget to always maintain an active presence in relevant events, conferences, speaking and publication opportunities, networking events, etc.," Mr. Smith said. "Having your name out there makes you stand out ... which increases your odds of landing the job you are looking for."

And, C-suite job seekers shouldn't overlook the importance of a tailored resume and up-to-date LinkedIn profile that emphasizes the value they bring. Tapping a recruiter or another leader in a healthcare executive search firm will also bring about results.

 

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