7 healthcare leaders share the industry problem they would eliminate overnight

Becker's Hospital Review asked leaders to share the one healthcare industry problem they would eliminate overnight. Leaders touched on a variety of issues, including conflict of interest and universal access to healthcare. Read their responses below.

Timothy Babineau, MD
President and CEO of Lifespan (Providence, R.I.)

"Unnecessary clinical variation. We know from the disciplines of Lean and Six Sigma, that variation (not backed by evidence) in the care we deliver to our patients increases waste, increases cost and decreases quality. As a surgeon, I recognize that the practice of medicine is both an 'art' and a 'science,' but I believe we need to be much more disciplined and evidence-based in the processes and methods of care delivery. As an industry, we need to do a better job researching and developing standardized protocols that lead to better outcomes and lower costs. Although there is much variation in the care we deliver between different healthcare systems, there is also much variation that occurs within a particular system. I would urge us all to focus first on getting our own 'houses' in order."

Elizabeth Concordia
President and CEO of UCHealth (Aurora, Colo.)

"I would eliminate some of the complexity in healthcare and shift our industry to be more focused on patients and less on us. Specifically, we should advance the interoperability of medical records, improve access, provide online scheduling and simplify the reimbursement process. We can also help consumers better understand the potential cost of healthcare services and their out-of-pocket responsibilities.

"While it won't happen overnight, in the future, we must harness the power of predictive analytics and personalized medicine. This will enable us to prevent certain diseases and to deliver better care for patients with vastly improved outcomes while lowering costs."

Kelly Jo Golson
Chief Marketing Officer of Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, Ill., and Milwaukee)

"The hassle map. Healthcare consumers continue to experience unnecessary administrative, process and access hurdles. From scheduling appointments to accessing results, navigating multiple care providers and billing, there are so many stresses pervasive in the system that don't live up to today's consumer expectations. Like so many industries including travel, banking and retail — we must do better at offering ease and convenience for this portion of consumers' lives. At Advocate Aurora Health, we've accelerated our focus on consumerism and are aligning our operations and digital tools with emerging consumer trends and priorities. We're committed to advancing enabling technologies that in a word 'simplify' the road to health for consumers. It really comes down to our purpose: to help people live well."

Mitchell Katz, MD
President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals (New York City)

"If I could eliminate any healthcare industry problem, it would be conflict of interest. Hospitals make money by filling beds and attracting patients with Cadillac insurance. Insurance companies make money by insuring healthy people and trying to avoid sick ones. Doctors make money by doing more procedures. Pharmaceutical companies make money by selling more drugs. Equipment companies make money by patients having more scans. IT companies make money by building systems that don't talk to one another so that IT bridges must be built. This inherent conflict of interest in the healthcare industry makes it very hard for patients to get the right care at the right place at the right time. That's why I believe in salaried doctors and government-run health systems."

Arthur Klein, MD
President of the Mount Sinai Health Network (New York City)

"I certainly would advocate for universal access to healthcare, starting from a commitment to revitalize preventive medicine in this country, all the way to being able to provide needed tertiary and quaternary services. I would say for me, that issue revolves around the fact that unless we do this and do this in the right way, we're never going to be able to afford the healthcare we need to give to a growing and aging population."

Mark Laney, MD
CEO of Mosaic Life Care (St. Joseph, Mo.)

"Lack of health insurance for all."

Kate Walsh
President and CEO of Boston Medical Center

"Eliminate regulatory and financial barriers that inhibit the delivery of services to vulnerable communities, where and when they need it most. At Boston Medical Center, we're seeing great promise in supporting services in such areas as housing, food insecurity, job training, among others to strengthen the overall health of the communities we serve."


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