Becker's 12th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions with Christopher DeRienzo, MD, MPP, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, WakeMed Health & Hospitals

Christopher DeRienzo, MD, MPP, serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at WakeMed Health & Hospitals. 

Christopher will give a presentation on "Climbing the Care Transformation Mountain" at Becker's Hospital Review 12th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place in Chicago from April 25-28, 2022. 

To learn more about the conference and Christopher's session, click here.

Question: What will the lasting legacy of COVID-19 be on the healthcare system?

Christopher DeRienzo: If I had to choose just one lasting legacy, I would say COVID has forced healthcare providers to think differently about resiliency. That includes building resiliency into our supply chains, creating resiliency around our models of care, and perhaps most importantly investing in resiliency within our people. COVID directly attacked the foundation of each of these pillars (and many others). Two years in, I believe we are finally learning how to build stronger, more resilient foundations.

Q: What technologies and innovations are you most excited about in healthcare right now?

CD: Right now, I am most excited about hardwiring health equity data into our care transformation platform. I have always believed care transformation (also called “clinical redesign”) lifts outcomes, lowers costs, and improves experiences for all of our patients. Now when we drive clinical excellence bundles, like our Colorectal Surgery or Ambulatory Hypertension pathways, we can prove that we really are equitably raising the bar for everyone (or learn that we really aren’t). That’s a really exciting prospect – but what comes next is even more exciting. We’ve never had a scalable, health equity analytics engine embedded in care transformation. Nor did we have the standard work package necessary to engage with it. Now we have both. I can’t wait to learn all the new questions clinicians engaging with this work will ask and, ultimately, see the outcomes of interventions those questions will lead us to develop – interventions we can’t even dream into existence right now.

Q: What advice do you have for emerging healthcare leaders today?

CD: First be passionate about who, what, and why you serve – and know that if you aren’t, your energy will still radiate into and beyond your team.

Second, don’t be afraid to ask “Why?” It’s the single most powerful word in the English language.

Third, once you understand why things are as they are, be willing to open your mind, dream things that never were, and ask “Why not?”

Fourth, once you know where you want to go, work hard building the people, the plan, the trust, and the energy needed to transform your vision into reality.

Lastly, accept that whatever you’re helping transform will never look perfect on day 1. Just keep striving for good today and better tomorrow – before you know it, you’ll be prouder of your team’s work than you can possibly imagine.

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