Hartford HealthCare CEO Elliot Joseph: Strategic alignment is not 'one-size-fits-all'

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Elliot Joseph, CEO of Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare.    

Mr. Joseph will speak on a keynote panel at Becker's Hospital Review 7th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable titled "The Most Pressing Issues Facing Health Systems" at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: How can hospital executives and physicians ensure they're aligned around the same strategic goals?

Elliot Joseph: Alignment is essential, but it must be realistic. It's not going to be one-size-fits-all. At Hartford HealthCare we have three types of alignment strategies. Our employed providers are fully aligned strategically. Our physician partners — involved in such arrangements as joint ventures, professional service agreements and co-management structures — are more financially and economically aligned. Finally, private groups and organizations that are affiliated with our system are aligned around quality and safety protocols and standards. We say we are "clinically obligated." Our clinical-integration organization, Integrated Care Partners, helps bring together physicians in all these groups, supplementing the work of our medical staff organizations.

Q: What keeps you excited and motivated to come to work each day?

EJ: At Hartford HealthCare, we talk about a composite patient — based on a couple of real patient situations. We call her Betty. She has multiple health issues, struggles economically and falls through the "cracks" in the system. We have an opportunity, as a country and an organization, to build a meaningful system of care for people like Betty. We've built our mission around that and assembled a team of great, dedicated, compassionate people to make it happen. That's why I come to work.

Q: What is one piece of professional advice you would give to your younger self?

EJ: Recognize what you're not good at. Of course, there will be a necessary expansion of skills and competencies over your career, but don't be a peg in square hole. Get feedback and listen to yourself. Ask yourself: What do you like doing and what bores you to tears? Surround yourself with people who are good at what you're not — and don't try to be them. Rely upon them to do what they do well

Q: What's one conviction in healthcare that needs to be challenged?

EJ: That the introduction of technology and innovation does not reduce the cost of healthcare. Historically, new technology, whether it's imaging, EHRs or whatever, have only added to the cost of caring for patients. We are at a tipping point. As new technologies are introduced, we must show a positive impact on reducing the cost-increase curve. Telehealth is one of the big opportunities for us — as an industry — to demonstrate this.

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