Health system executive roles are evolving: 68 leaders share 2024 changes

Becker's asked C-suite executives from hospitals and health systems across the U.S. to share their organization's areas of growth for the next few years. 

The 68 executives featured in this article are all speaking at the Becker's Healthcare 14th Annual Meeting on April 8-11, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

To learn more about this event, click here.

If you would like to join as a speaker or a reviewer, contact For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Jessica Cole at

As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who will speak at our conference. The following are answers from our speakers at the event.

Question: What aspects of your role will change the most over the next year and why?

Cliff Megerian, MD. CEO and Jane and Henry Meyer CEO Distinguished Chair at University Hospitals (Cleveland): Consumerism – or focusing on the customer's needs and wants – has been a mainstay in the retail sector for decades, driving corporate strategy. In healthcare, patients should be elevated to that same standard, meaning they are not a captive audience. They have a say in their care, where, when and how it's delivered and can vote with their feet, choosing to come into your facility or go next door to a competitor. It's why we made providing service excellence one of our core values at University Hospitals. 

It's also why we incorporated putting the patient first into our strategic plan. But in 2024, we are accelerating these efforts and making it a high-priority focus. Our goal is to provide high-touch, compassionate care at every point in the consumer's journey – from requesting an appointment and getting one quickly; to arriving at our locations and being treated by everyone with empathy and a smile; to receiving outstanding, high-value care; to efficiently scheduling their follow-up appointments and tests; to easily understanding their healthcare billing – so that our "customers" feel they had a 5-star patient experience. 

We know compassion is our differentiator, and now we want to take it to the next level, perfecting and measuring our service performance to ensure a friction-free, ideal pathway to the best possible healthcare.

Peter D. Banko. Division President of CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): Facing new and different challenges in today's environment as well as the continued, endless challenges of healthcare, so many aspects of my role will change over the next year. On the softer side of things, creating an enhanced sense of clarity, certainty, and ownership for governance, leadership, and caregivers to solidify both mission and a sustainable bottom line. The real hard tasks ahead are finally achieving the consistency and predictability of systemness and scale through a true system- and process-orientation, a unified clinical and physician enterprise, and hyper-competitiveness in each market.

Shelly Schorer. CFO of California Division at CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): I would say that it will really be an increased focus on strategic financial moves that maintain access, and quality of care but ensure we are controlling our costs in light of inflation outpacing reimbursement. This is not really new for a CFO but I believe our shift to partner with operations and strategy to form a collaborative approach to changes will be enhanced.

Greg Till. Chief People Officer of Providence (Renton, Wash.): Over the past few years, healthcare has been challenged with a global pandemic, a history-making workforce crisis, and devastating financial headwinds. While incredibly difficult, these realities have forced health systems to pivot faster, innovate more freely, and design new ways to care for our communities. Like the rest of our colleagues, HR leaders developed new muscles, redesigning processes for speed and simplicity, deploying technology to enable our caregivers' success, retooling systems and structures to meet changing demands and leaning further into our future. With some of our recent challenges beginning to dissipate, we are seeing the benefits of these changes come to fruition. In the next year, we will continue inspiring, developing and enabling our caregivers, while making even more meaningful changes to how the work is performed, which is key to our industry's sustainability.

David Verinder. President and CEO of Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Health Care System: As our health system expands to enhance care to our rapidly growing community, my role will increasingly focus on ensuring that we have an integrated team working collaboratively toward the same goals and expected outcomes across multiple campuses. With our third hospital and numerous outpatient centers coming online within the next couple of years, my top priority will be reinforcing our system-wide commitment to our deeply rooted community mission. 

Marty Sargeant. CEO of the Keck Medical Center at University of Southern California (Los Angeles): Over the next year my role will take a decided internal lens in the deployment of our leadership model throughout the medical center – ensuring we continuously seek feedback, monitor progress, and course adjust where necessary. We are actively engaging our leaders, co-learning with front-line leaders, in the renewal of our culture of purpose and making this our standard work (as opposed to a new course or additive work).  

We started with listening sessions with our front-line leaders and are now transitioning to re-calibrating our leadership expectations. Giving our managers the tools, development, space and skills to ensure we are engaging our caregivers in a meaningful way, especially with post-pandemic stressors (impacting resilience) still looming large in our caregiver's daily lives.

Nancy Howell Agee. CEO of Carilion Clinic (Roanoke, Va.): After more than a decade as CEO of Carilion Clinic, I have begun to gradually transition responsibilities to our chief operating officer, allowing me to focus on Carilion's long-term strategy, including growing our educational partnerships with Radford University and Virginia Tech, building Carilion's philanthropy program and meaningfully engaging in economic development in our region and across the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

Michelle Stansbury. Vice President of Innovation and IT Applications at Houston Methodist: Healthcare and digital healthcare innovation have grown tremendously in the past few years and will continue to do so thanks to remote patient monitoring, virtual care technology and more, especially AI. In my role as VP of innovation and IT applications, I work closely with everyone within Houston Methodist's Center for Innovation as we explore technology that allows our patients and clinicians to function in a digital-first world. 

I envision my role to expand further as we enter into our last year of developing our smart hospital of the future and incorporate some of the learnings from pilots across our system before we open our doors in 2025. I anticipate that we'll continue to look beyond the conventional paradigm of innovation within our industry and investigate opportunities for cross-industry collaboration, which we're doing even more since launching our Tech Hub at the Ion, an innovation hub within the heart of Houston's innovation district that encourages collaboration across industries such as healthcare, energy, aerospace and more.

Kenneth Rose. President and CEO of Texas Health Hospital Mansfield: As the leader of a community-based hospital going on three years old, I will be increasingly focused on physician deals and outpatient growth. This is not unique in healthcare; my unique change is from hospital startup operations to more strategic growth. Our hospital is maturing and the top-tier clinical results we are achieving are validating us with the medical community, which means that there will be increasing opportunities. 

Robert Calway. President and CEO of New England Life Care (South Portland, Maine): The most immediate challenge we face here at NELC (and throughout healthcare) is the critical labor shortage. Many healthcare workers left the industry during the pandemic and the pipeline of replacements is insufficient to meet the demands of the industry. This problem is expected to extend well into the future. 

To enable the continued growth and expansion of the business we need to be focused on keeping the excellent staff that we have and find solutions to enable those staff to be as efficient and productive as possible. We are focused on keeping staff by building a culture of inclusion, connectedness and belonging; connecting every employee to the purpose of the organization and engaging staff to ensure that every employee feels connected to the company and a valued contributor to realizing the company's vision. 

We are also focused on building a culture of employee wellness and identifying and reducing the signs of burnout. We are focused on enabling the staff we have to be more efficient and productive by deploying technologies like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to remove the mundane tasks from each employee's work and enable everyone to work at the highest end of their licensure or capabilities. 

Alexa B. Kimball, MD. President and CEO of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston): With Medicare cuts looming on the January 1, 2024 horizon, my role will continue to include more advocacy for our patients and caregivers. Our public advocacy work has been effective in addressing the challenges we have faced in the recent past - the pandemic, workforce shortages, physician burnout, a seismic shift to telehealth and the reimbursement issues that followed, to name a few. I would encourage others in leadership positions to make sure they are looking not only at the horizon and their organization's goals but also behind them to make sure the providers in their "boat" are being taken care of while addressing dangerous icebergs like Medicare cuts with vigilant public advocacy.

Michael Prokopis. Vice President of Supply Chain at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston): Clinically integrated supply chain will be a major focus at MD Anderson that allows both a financial discussion in combination with clinical/functional equivalency. By ensuring we start with patient outcome and standard of care our focus will shift to a service mentality in conjunction with typical supply chain, box-moving physical activities.

Ronda Lehman. President of Mercy Health - Lima (Ohio): My role as market president in a large health system will most certainly continue to evolve and change. The skill sets necessary to lead a traditional hospital market continue to be impacted by value-based care, by the pandemic aftereffects and by the changing partnerships across healthcare (to name but a few factors).

The pandemic compelled all of us to reconsider what we knew about health disparities and their direct impact on caring for our communities. The role of a health system executive will need to have an even greater focus on how decisions impact the most vulnerable in our communities. Progress in the value-based care world will only be truly impacted by recognizing and acting upon all of the areas of a person's life that affect their overall health.

As capital constraints are a reality for many organizations, we will also need to be even more focused on what relationships and partnerships can help us achieve our goals collectively, and share the financial risk and rewards that are often involved. 

Finally, our focus on healing our current workforce and cultivating the pipeline for future healthcare workers will be continuing and maturing in the coming year.

Triston Smith, MD. Medical Director of CV Service Line and Co-Chair of Structural Heart Clinical Council at CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): Over the last two to three years my focus has been on developing the foundational infrastructure to deliver quality cardiovascular and structural heart care within the service line. Over the next year, the focus of my role would be to ensure that the service line responds adequately in addressing health disparities within cardiovascular care. I will be spearheading initiatives aimed at identifying and addressing the systemic factors that contribute to these disparities. 

This will include enhancing our data collection and analysis capabilities to better understand these disparities within our local, regional and national context; working with organizations like SCAI and the Heart Valve Collaboratory to implement targeted interventions while forging meaningful partnerships with community organizations. These initiatives are driven by my organization's commitment to health equity and our belief that everyone should have access to our high-quality cardiovascular care, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

Daniel I. Simon,  MD. President of Academic & External Affairs and Chief Scientific Officer at University Hospitals, Cleveland: A robust commitment to research is a pillar of University Hospitals’ mission, but our commitment to discovery is about more than grant attainment and the number of impactful publications.  The Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals provides a unique non-profit/for-profit model to accelerate promising discoveries into medicines for unmet needs. We are so excited to have just signed a collaborative agreement with Oxford University to establish the Oxford-Harrington Rare Disease Centre Therapeutics Accelerator that will bring 40 new therapeutics into the clinic and hopefully eight to 10 U.S. Food and Drug Administration/European Medicines Agency approvals in the next decade. It is estimated that one third of human diseases are rare, affecting 400 million worldwide with no treatments. We are hopeful that we are now positioned to make a difference.  UH is also investing heavily into health services/implementation science research in order to positively impact our patients and communities. For example, UH is one of seven sites nationwide chosen for the CDC’s United States Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network, which focuses on how social determinants of health affect access and uptake of crucial vaccines. UH researchers are also leading an effort to address cardiovascular health disparities in African-American communities thanks to a transformative grant from the National Institute of Minority Health.

Sean Poellnitz. Chief Resource Officer of Renown Health (Reno, Nev.): In the forthcoming years, resource management will primarily center on strategy and the procurement service spectrum around purchased services. Moreover, there will be a notable shift in the mindset of health systems, with a greater emphasis on asking the question "Should we?" rather than "Can we do something." The capability to effectively oversee resources will mirror the diligence and approach of Fortune 500 companies. At the same time, the pressure on margins amidst ongoing dynamic and global disruptions will remain a consistent theme.

Heather Chung, PhD. Associate Chief of Nursing and Director of System Quality at Houston Methodist: Over the next year, my system role will be integral to influencing leadership to understand the WHY around national concerns around the behavioral health population and why social determinants of health are so important.

Bethany Daily. Executive Director of Perioperative Services and Healthcare Systems Engineering at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston): I work for Mass General, which is part of the Mass General Brigham system. The system-level work continues to accelerate, consolidating resources, and creating more standard processes, business functions, reporting capabilities, etc. 

More and more, I am drawn into system-level teams to talk about how we each do our work, how we can identify best practices, and how to disseminate these practices across all the hospitals/facilities within our system. While still working for one hospital, I am increasingly drawn into discussions and decisions that affect all hospitals that are in the system.

Amy Cain, RN, MSN. Chief Quality Officer of West Tennessee Healthcare (Jackson, Tenn.): I think we are already seeing a change in how chief quality officers function and the role of the designated quality leader in healthcare organizations. Part of what has drawn me to this leadership role was its connection to all aspects of the business, but historically quality leaders might have only been as involved in operations as they wanted to be or were allowed to be. Now there is a new imperative. 


For hospitals and systems to be successful, quality and operations must be in lockstep, not just clinical operations – but all operations. As an industry, we are really beginning to understand the value of our quality executives actively partnering with operators for strategy setting and execution, and I think the best organizations have always done it this way. 

Why this change now? If healthcare was complex before, with four primary regulatory bodies, hundreds of secondary bodies, thousands of standards that prescribe what compliance looks like and payment models increasingly dependent on the quality of care delivery – it is now more complex considering labor market forces and supply chain constraints that have not normalized. As our organizations look for creative ways to solve these new problems – and do so with flexibility and agility, they look to their quality leaders to ensure new solutions will continue to execute on mission mandates for high-quality, safe and compassionate care.

Patrick Runnels, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Population Health at University Hospitals Cleveland: As chief medical officer of population health, charged with expanding the success of our accountable care organization, we have grounded our work in transforming our primary care practices to be able to provide high-value care. As that has matured, the need to bring our specialty practices into alignment with our population health goals will become more central. This is more than education; this is changing the culture so that specialists see their role as supporting and promoting value-based care in their populations, breaking silos so that multidisciplinary teams can work across effectively and efficiently, and equipping specialists with the tools and space to implement change, often challenging their own orthodoxies about what it means to provide value.

Kim Bennion. Director of Respiratory Care Research at Intermountain Health (Salt Lake City): As the director of clinical research, my work does not always include randomized control trials. Much of what I will be required to do moving forward is clinical continuous quality improvement studies that test and identify clinical practices and interventions that allow us to provide the highest quality of care at the lowest cost. Always doing what we have always done will not suffice. What we have found is that doing the right thing at the right time and in the right location leads to a higher quality of care. Cost almost always follows.

Tyler L. Hill, DO. Chief Medical Officer of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (Grass Valley, Calif.): The chief medical officer role has significantly evolved over the last several decades. The diversity of knowledge and experience required for a successful CMO continues to expand given the complexity and challenges in healthcare. The pandemic has only complicated that fact. CMOs no longer routinely focus only on clinical services. Over the next year and beyond, CMOs will be more heavily involved in budgetary matters and staffing challenges. 

Ebrahim Barkoudah, MD. System Chief and Regional Chief Medical Officer at Baystate Health (Springfield, Mass.): Here are a couple of thoughts: 

  • Emphasis on patient experience: Ensuring a positive patient experience is paramount; seeking ways to enhance this aspect, from streamlining admission processes to improving communication between patients and providers.
  • Staff Well-being: The well-being of our healthcare staff is crucial and our roles will evolve to include more initiatives aimed at supporting the mental and physical health of our team members.
  • Increased focus on telehealth: Expanding telehealth capabilities and integrating these services more seamlessly into the overall care model.
  • Data-driven decision making: With the rise of healthcare analytics, there's an increasing need to leverage data for decision-making to understand trends, improve patient outcomes, and increase operational efficiency.
  • Quality and safety improvement: This is driven by both regulatory requirements and our commitment to providing the highest standard of care.
  • Healthcare policy advocacy: Changes in the healthcare policy landscape can significantly impact our operations and will be more actively involved in advocacy efforts to ensure our organization's needs are adequately represented.

Nasir Khan. Regional Director of Clinical and Quality Analytics Loyola Medicine at Trinity Health (Chicago): Hospital clinical quality and analytics are evolving practices, and over time we may see more data used in clinical decision-making, operational efficiency, and cost-saving. Assessing the value and implementation of new patient care digital tools or products requires a thorough upfront analysis of data – and then measuring the ongoing success and impact of such products in patient outcomes and hospital bottom lines business will become more prominent. Additionally, there is going to be more emphasis on creating robust strategies for value-based care models and their implementation.

Susmita Pati, MD. Chief of Primary Care Pediatrics and Chief Medical Program Advisor of The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University: I anticipate that I will continue to increase my time and effort in promoting workforce development, health equity, and organizational resilience strategies over the next year. This includes supporting our workforce in expanding our telemedicine/digital medicine offerings and improving our patient experience. Furthermore, I expect to help advance our organization's mission to promote interprofessional initiatives in scholarship and patient care.

Giovanni Piedimonte, ​MD. Vice President, Research and Institutional Official, Tulane University; Professor of Pediatrics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Tulane School of Medicine (New Orleans): I think the same three vectors that are disrupting all aspects of our social life – and healthcare in particular – will continue to change my professional roles and activities over the next year(s). 

Firstly, of course, artificial intelligence. Generative AI is increasingly becoming a key player not only in the diagnosis and therapeutic management of patients but also in all areas of research, administration, and operations. This revolution will reach its exponential phase once quantum computing adds data management speeds that far exceed those of current computers. Already today, computers can be more than 90% as accurate as medical specialists; in the near future, there will not be any possible competition. Although we might still need physicians for human interaction, it will be interesting to see how we handle the endless potential of machines evolving at a pace our brains cannot match. 

Hopefully, computers will be used to augment, not substitute, us doctors, but the precipitous evolution of ChatGPT makes even this prediction uncertain. For example, the just-announced ChatGPT update includes new voice and image capabilities that will allow normal voice conversations with your chatbots or show them visually what you're talking about. 

Another revolution we will have to face increasingly is the widespread adoption of precision medicine. For generations, we have been building our clinical knowledge on double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. These arrive at an average for what will work for the general population. But there is no such thing as a "general individual" because each one of us is unique. Precision medicine says, "I will find the therapy that is good for you as an individual." 

The magnitude of this change in medicine will not be different from the Copernican revolution in astronomy. The only hurdle still slowing the progress toward personalizing medical diagnosis and management is the relative lack of accurate biomarkers, but the rapid development of omics-based science will fill this gap soon. 

Last but not least, telehealth and remote intervention will continue to replace face-to-face interactions. Remote monitoring already allows healthcare providers to interact with patients in their homes around the world and will be able soon to monitor virtually any biological function using wearables and other environmental sensors. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has converted most professional interactions into video calls. The most meaningful next step in healthcare will be the adoption of remote surgical technologies that will allow surgeons to operate from any corner of the world using robotic equipment infinitely more accurately than human hands, assuming a human surgeon will still be necessary. 

Bharat Magu. Chief Medical Officer of Yuma (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center: Over the coming year, my role will undergo a significant transformation. I will be concentrating more intently on achieving population health objectives and taking an active role in the restructuring of our provider group. Additionally, I'll be harnessing technology to enhance provider workflows, aiming to alleviate their work-related stresses and burdens. Furthermore, a key aspect of my responsibilities will involve forging collaborations with major regional affiliates to pursue opportunities for expansion.

Patrice M. Weiss, MD. Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, Tenn.): In my work as an executive search consultant, I see physician leadership changing dramatically towards a style of leading that prioritizes communication, collaboration among executives and teams, empathy, and culture-building. The academic and community health systems I support seek physician executives who can leverage these skills to advance quality, clinician and staff morale, patient safety, and more. Increasingly, they're looking for physician leaders who have this "complete package" of skills and abilities. As a clinician, I'll work with colleagues to look for ways (perhaps through enhanced technology) to reduce our administrative burden in order to spend more quality time with patients, both in person and virtually. 

Jose Lopez, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Holy Cross Health/Trinity Health (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): My role will continue to expand beyond the acute care setting. Operationally, we will be more involved in care coordination. From a strategic point of view, we must help develop the right infrastructure and partnerships to allow for a seamless transition of care for our patients. It is a great opportunity to continue to grow and learn.

Holly Geyer, MD. Chair of Mayo Clinic Opioid Stewardship Program at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): I anticipate my opioid stewardship role will expand educational initiatives to population health levels. With just 23% of U.S. healthcare programs operating an opioid stewardship program to ensure safe opioid use and manage addiction, there is a tremendous need to nationalize this topic, as well as support awareness on the tools, protocols, workflows and patient/provider education necessary to do it well.

Gian Varbaro, MD. Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Ambulatory Services at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center (Paramus, N.J.): Over the next year I think I will be increasingly focused on building new opportunities, particularly in ambulatory care. That has always been part of my position, and we have always innovated, but the changing landscape makes that even more important.

Lyndon Edwards. Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Loma Linda (Calif.) University Health Hospitals: One aspect of my role that will be new in the next year is leading our organizational efforts around a joint venture to build a new acute rehab facility. We are in the final stages of due diligence and I'll likely spend significant time in the next year developing with our partner the plan and beginning the work to obtain regulatory approval for a new hospital.

Christy Bray Ricks. Vice President of Provider Talent at Ardent Health Services (Nashville, Tenn.): I find that more of my time is spent on developing creative staffing solutions either through direct-employment, temporary locum tenens, or other contracted provider workforce. We are in the early stages of the physician shortage. And, as the shortage worsens over the next decade, health systems will need to be agile and flexible with our employment models in order to compete for provider talent and work collaboratively with our staffing partners to fill coverage gaps.

Pooja P. Vyas, DO. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Christian Hospital Northeast & Northwest Healthcare (St. Louis): Being a chief medical officer, I have responsibilities for patient safety, quality of care, and care delivery. This role will evolve to incorporate AI and technology to enhance patient care and improve safety standards. I expect my role to incorporate more time focused on taking advantage of the resources available to take our approach to the next level. 

Annie Thomas-Landrum, MSN, RN. Board of Directors of Sunshine Community Health Center (Talkeetna, Alaska): I think for me it will be how I support the renewal of vision. With the huge challenges we are facing, especially with workforce recruitment and retention, there is a need for creative and innovative solutions. We have needed to innovate in these areas in the past, but I believe for me this time is unique. The healthcare professionals I work with are not only short-staffed but individually more depleted and burned out than ever before. 

Depletion on this level zaps our creative energy and makes it hard for us to have any vision or hope for the future we want to build. My goals are going to need to be focused on what I can do to realistically embrace where people are and create an environment that supports the renewal of their passion and resilience first so that we can stabilize our healthcare system as a whole, and create a collaborative vision of what we want to build towards together. To do that, I have to be able to see the narrowing and refining of our focus as a win. It is so easy to feel a sense of defeat when I cannot achieve the growth I want to see. But during this time, I believe the teams will only have the space to recover if we say the positive 'no's' that allows us to say 'yes' to the essential priorities. 

If I as a leader can outline what we are not right now, alongside what we are, I believe this change in approach can address the sense of hopelessness that comes when the teams are short-staffed and not able to meet the productivity standards fully staffed and renewed team could meet. In order to do that, I have to let myself be real about my own limits, extents, and priorities. For me, identifying a word that helps me do that has been really helpful. Right now the word I am focused on is 'stability.' And in every decision I make, I am trying to ask the question, "what will increase stability in this situation?" This approach has really helped me to consistently evolve the role I am playing on my team to align with the key priorities the team needs to move towards to renew our collective vision.

Manish Chadha, MD. Director and Co-Chair of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee at Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.): I will be more involved in leading initiatives involving the use of automation and AI algorithms in improving healthcare delivery. I envision working with various entities including internal and external stakeholders to achieve this in the next one year. We need to leverage technology to improve access and quality of care and lower the cost of healthcare delivery.

Julie Oehlert, DNP, RN. Chief Experience and Brand Officer at ECU Health (Greenville, N.C.): The role of the chief experience officer has been in evolution, and over the next year will continue to transform and expand as healthcare adjusts to post-pandemic realities. Experience is the umbrella strategy for areas that the last few years have shown a light on, such as inclusion and belonging, and resilience and well-being. The experience officer role has the tools, data and infrastructure to address these foundational organizational needs that will contribute greatly to outcomes such as attraction and retention, quality and safety, and patient experience.

M. Shafeeq Ahmed, MD. President of Johns Hopkins Howard County Medical Center; Assistant Professor of the GYN/OB Department at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (Baltimore): As we are slowly building back our healthcare workforce, we are seeing newer faces in both front-line and leadership roles. As senior front-line staff transition out of their fields and are backfilled by less experienced employees, leaders will need to engage and educate this group in order to mitigate current challenges and regain a culture of high performance. Examples of challenges that developed over the past few years include increased financial expense pressures and a reversal of progress against HAIs. 

Retention efforts will be key, along with creatively developing new pipelines into our workforce. A prominent opportunity would be for senior leaders to focus on developing our middle management's leadership capabilities with an emphasis on engagement and accountability. These efforts will help us achieve excellent performance in all areas, but especially in quality, safety, and service to our patients. 

Joyal Pavey. Vice President of Advisory Group and John F. Butzer Center for Research & Innovation at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (Grand Rapids, Mich.): My current role is primarily focused on strategy and strategic growth. In this role there is a significant manual review of data and market trends to identify community needs and partners to better serve patients. I believe in the next year, even over the next 5 years artificial intelligence will identify organizational opportunities and predict the best partnerships based on this data. It will be extremely important in my role to preserve the human elements of relationships. Artificial intelligence may predict the best strategic moves, but strong, lasting partnerships must be based on alignment of organizational culture, reciprocal trust, and transparency.  

Vi-Anne Antrum. Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Cone Health (Greensboro, N.C.): My role will change to include more technology-based enhancements to care delivery and operations over the next year. I choose to help shape the future versus let it happen to me so I happily accept this reality as part of that. I will be leading several large-scale organizational transformations in service to our overall strategy as part of my role within the enterprise leadership team. My work is centered around building healthier communities and I am very energized by that!

Ilir Zenku. Assistant Vice Chancellor, Health System IT at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (Chicago): Next year our organization will complete the digital infrastructure foundation for enabling continuity in our growth and open many new opportunities to expand our services to our community. 

When we completed our Epic implementation project during the global pandemic, our organization had to be laser-focused on scope management to control inflexible costs and schedules. After we stabilized in the new platform and started to get the benefits of the new integrated system, we are now in the phase of significantly expanding our core capabilities in our EHR system by adding Epic Cheers CRM and Epic Genomics. 

Our last significant integration challenge will be to integrate our dental services and education into our enterprise-wide integrated EHR system. I expect this last challenge to be mutually challenging for us and our strategic partner Epic due to the full spectrum of needs at our organization. Oral health is overall still lacking the appropriate support and standardizations to be fully integrated in the healthcare delivery. Our organization will be walking into some uncharted territories where we will need to expand our collaborations internally and externally with our partners. This is why I expect this unique challenge to influence the most on changes in my role and the challenges ahead. 

Bill Munley. Market Administrator, Southeast of Shriners Children's Greenville (S.C.): Shriners Children's recently reorganized into markets, geographically aligning our ability to identify strategic integration and operational optimization opportunities; meanwhile, I was promoted to market administrator of the Southeast. I now oversee three regions comprising eleven states. Over the next year, this approach will allow more collaborative working relationships between market board members, administrators, and system leadership. 

Our new strategy vastly increases our ambulatory access and outreach points across the nation and will lead to serving more kids in more places. As more insurance companies and employers continue to find our value-based care agreements very attractive, over the next year I will work to add additional alternative payment arrangements to our existing revenue cycle contracts.

Amit Rastogi, MD. CEO of Jupiter (Fla.) Medical Center: Artificial Intelligence will have a significant influence on responsibilities and decision-making for healthcare leaders in the future. AI-generated insights can drive data-driven decision-making and serve as a tremendous resource for enhancing patient care, reducing the administrative burden for clinicians, and improving team member engagement. Hospital CEOs will be able to leverage AI-powered systems to improve patient outcomes, provider experience and operational performance.

Patti Artley. Adjunct Associate Professor and Former Chief Nursing Officer of Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston): In the coming year, my role will undergo substantial changes driven by our commitment to efficiency and client satisfaction. I will focus on streamlining clinician interviewing processes with the help of my Medical Solutions' clinical team. Additionally, I'll invest in the development of our travelers to ensure they stay engaged and excel in their assignments. Data-driven insights will guide these changes, enabling us to provide exceptional service in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.

Baruch S. Fertel, MD. Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety at NewYork-Presbyterian; Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York City): As healthcare margins tighten and care delivery becomes more complex the need to use electronic tools to automate quality and safety will become more important. Using machine learning to identify safety opportunities or decompensating patients and meaningfully alert clinicians will be important adjuncts and we will be exploring these at every junction. Finally, the last few years have been dedicated to refreshing and reintroducing quality fundamentals, now we need to #SustainTheGain with #consistency.

Darby Davenport. Manager of Operations, Telehealth at UAB Health System (Birmingham, Ala.): As a member of the operations team in the department of eMedicine, we are constantly adapting to changes in the healthcare landscape as telehealth regulations come in and out of play. Alabama has a number of state-specific regulations, but our relationships with key hospital leaders, state legislators, devout clinicians, and the Alabama Department of Public Health have continued to advance the field and opportunities related to providing care in a virtual setting. 

Now that we have partnered with a new remote patient monitoring vendor and secured Medicaid coverage for patients interested and eligible to enroll in RPM, my role will largely focus on increasing RPM volume to patients with congestive heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes. Likewise, we continue to strive towards providing patients with increased urgent care and low acuity care options. These ambulatory advancements in tandem with our inpatient statewide endeavors will likely increase volume, awareness, and utilization across the state. As a result, it is my hope that my role in these efforts will strengthen health literacy and access to care needs across the state and beyond over the next year.

Thomas Maddox, MD. Vice President of Digital Products and Innovation at BJC HealthCare/Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis): As a product leader for our organization, I've spent the last couple of years standing up our design, product, and Agile capabilities. Going forward, my role will shift to capitalize on these nascent digital capabilities and use them to transform our technology and business to be more digitally enabled in our interactions with our patients, our care teams, and our non-clinical workforce. By doing so, we believe that we will achieve more impactful outcomes quicker, more efficiently, and with higher engagement and satisfaction from our users.

Mark Behl. President and CEO of NorthBay Health (Fairfield, Calif.): As I begin a new position as the president and CEO for NorthBay Health in northern California, my role will become increasingly more diverse and complex over the next year. Managing healthcare organizations in the current industry landscape brings significant challenges. Systems continue to face financial pressures stemming from the ripple effect of the pandemic, including much higher costs to deliver healthcare. Compounded by declining reimbursement, consumerism, and a host of external threats such as ransomware, workforce shortages, and regulatory and policy changes - the list is daunting - the stage has been set for fundamental transformation from where we have been over the past couple of years. 

We must now shift to more clinical and strategic growth, which requires: 

  • Developing original, creative strategies 
  • Implementing newly developed care and payment models 
  • Investing in cutting-edge technology 
  • Advocating for policy reform on critical issues impacting healthcare systems 

We have been in a defensive position of holding the fort, which was necessary for survival. However, now is the time to shift gears and play offense through innovation, growth, and carefully executed strategies. 

Bill Morice, MD, PhD. President and CEO of Mayo Clinic Laboratories (Rochester, Minn.): The core elements of leadership service, living your organizational values, and keeping the needs of the patients and providers at the forefront of every decision will, of course, remain unchanged. That said, with technologies, healthcare delivery, and AI tools all evolving as rapidly as they are today, I expect that over the next year, I will be challenged to view diagnostics through a wider, more holistic, lens. And it will be necessary to adapt our overall strategies to the new opportunities and challenges this changing landscape presents. 

We will need to rethink how diagnostic tools are delivered, either closer to home or at home; how the breadth of diagnostic information is made accessible and understandable in a fair and equitable way, and how changes in regulator and reimbursement policies impact our ability to bring these innovations to market. Ultimately, to meet the needs of patients and society, as leaders, we will be challenged to form new networks and partnerships.

Seth Ciabotti. CEO of MSU Health Care at Michigan State University (East Lansing, Mich.): Our investment in digital transformation will be different. For years it's been all about the EMR. Now it will be in tools or bolt-ons to the EMR – for digital health and analytics that can improve care delivery and outcomes. We will be leveraging technology, specifically AI or forms of it, to enhance patient engagement, access, and provider efficiency, as well as back office support and creating convenience for both patients and employees.

Patsy McNeil, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Adventist Healthcare (Gaithersburg, Md.): Currently, healthcare is undergoing a high season of accelerated change with shrinking financial resources and increasing costs. Success will depend on those who recognize the challenges and can develop strength in innovation of thought and innovation of approach. Over the next year, my role will demand heavy creativity and innovation while being aware that the tools and resources to execute are limited. Care delivery models will need to evolve, and prioritizing physician needs and work will change. 

Edith Okolo, PharmD. Director of Pharmacy of Cedar Crest Hospital (Belton, Texas): Over the next coming months, we are expecting some upgrades to the systems we currently use so I will be learning new systems as well as teaching others about it. Currently, we use the software system called Win pharm to profile patients' medication, but we will be changing to Sky well starting January 2024. This system will be interfaced with a new automated dispensing machine Omni cell currently we use Med Dispense from touchpoint Medicals. So as a pharmacy director, I will be ensuring the seamless function of these new systems as I will also be acting as the pharmacy informatics to integrate these new systems with our operations and workflow to ensure that the medication use process, patient care and outcomes are efficient and accurate.

Gail Vozzella. Chief Nurse Executive of Houston Methodist Hospital: This past year has been about rebuilding our nursing workforce across Houston Methodist. We do not have the same complement of experienced nurses as before the pandemic. Our nurses have less tenure but have the same mindset of striving to offer our patients and their families the best care possible. Over the next year, supporting our nurses as they build clinical knowledge and expertise will continue to be a significant focus. This investment has paid off so far with a continuing drop in turnover rates. The other broad-scale focus is introducing innovative strategies into acute care nursing tasks, hopefully reducing burnout and nurse fatigue.

Nick Rogers. Vice President of Revenue Cycle at One Medical (San Francisco): With the proliferation of AI, my role is going to include a more in-depth focus on building and utilizing generative artificial intelligence to accelerate the revenue cycle, support care delivery, and ultimately improve the patient and member experience at One Medical.

Stephen Hoang, MD. Medication Safety Officer and Pediatric Anesthesiologist at Children's Health System of Texas (Dallas): As we begin to finalize our medication safety goals for 2024, the overall guiding principle in our pediatric system will be our preoccupation with failure. As we evaluate our medication use system, we will continue to refine our processes to nudge team members toward the right clinical decision to ensure patient safety. This will help move our pediatric organization further towards high reliability. 

In addition to leading our efforts in medication safety, I plan to become more involved in advocacy work to address pediatric drug shortages. We will also conduct more bedside reviews and "roadshows" to bring heightened awareness to types of medication errors that can cause significant patient harm. This will also give more visibility of our multidisciplinary medication safety leadership to our direct care teams. Ultimately, we want all of our care team members to make medication safety a core part of overall quality and patient safety... for every patient, every medication use, and every encounter.

Erik J. Blutinger, MD. Medical Director of Community Paramedicine at Mount Sinai Health Partners; Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): As our program expands and aims to capitalize on home care, there is a growing need for engaging patients, connecting them to outpatient follow-up clinics, and building a holistic model centered around their needs as individuals. Sicker patient populations will continue to need our help, but focus must also be paid to emerging-, rising- and stable-risk patients who could use our services. There are many factors to consider along the entire patient's journey and it's incumbent upon us to appropriately match health resources with true care needs.

Deepak Sadagopan. Chief Operating Officer of Population Health at Providence (Renton, Wash.): Aspects of my role that would change most over the next year:

  1. Scale the adoption of value-based transformation in our healthcare system – across Medicare, Medicaid and commercial segments of our payer mix
  2. Use AI, data and technology to expand capacity and readiness to implement value-based transformation with a smaller budget
  3. Expand health equity programs to support all the communities we cover as a healthcare system
  4. Develop an integrated community health strategy that develops partnerships with local communities, other healthcare systems, payers, employers and legislatures to collectively share the responsibility of care delivery

Why are these changes happening:

  1. Economics of healthcare continues to be challenging – costs of premiums continue to rise, cost inflation for healthcare delivery systems continues to rise at 8-10% per year – value-based transformation offers a path forward to sustainability.
  2. Substantial systemic inequities in healthcare exposed by the pandemic need to be addressed so that we are better prepared as communities to face our next health challenge
  3. Healthcare as a service is increasingly moving out of hospitals and clinician offices towards homes – just as all other services are, we ought to meet our patients where they are – at their homes, in their communities. The combination of value-based models and community partnerships is essential to meet this change.

Whitney Haggerson. Vice President of Health Equity and Medicaid at Providence (Renton, Wash.): With increased focus on health equity across healthcare agencies and impacts to reimbursements, accreditation and increased transparency to the public about equity in healthcare access, outcomes and experience, the conversation around health equity will continue to transition from being a 'nice to have' or a 'moral imperative' to include the business imperative, crucial for the financial sustainability of our organizations. Fortunately, at Providence, we've had active support and engagement from our CFO and finance leaders since day one, and I anticipate that the partnership will continue to strengthen as we continue building the business case for equity and working to build sustainable funding models for programs not yet covered under traditional reimbursement models.

Brad Martin. Associate Director of Care Innovation and Community Improvement Program at UC Health: Overseeing the work of a quality collaborative is especially challenging in the current industry environment as resource constraints at each participating health system force it to prioritize some resources in different directions than the others. I think my role, and many with a management position, will continue to evolve in its need to find new ways to drive transformation and change with limited and/or untraditional resources. 

Specifically, I believe my role will begin to focus more on developing diverse and external collaborations with other organizations and entities that can support the organization's goals of improving the quality, equity, and experience of healthcare. Because health systems are being driven to develop new forms of partnerships with nontraditional competitors, such as retail clinics, and with CMS and other government agencies pushing expectations for increased community collaboration and engagement, I think many of our roles will require us to help our systems look externally to solve our toughest challenges rather than just internally to our own people and processes.

Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD. Chief Quality and Clinical Transformation Officer; Veale Distinguished Chair in Leadership and Clinical Transformation at University Hospitals (Cleveland): Over the next year, I'll be delving even more deeply into the issues of healthcare quality, safety and innovation that have animated my entire career as we continue implementing our new Veale Initiative for Health Care Innovation, which I'm privileged to lead. Through this Initiative, UH will develop a novel approach to define, clarify and prioritize healthcare's biggest problems and then find, test and scale solutions to those problems. 

The Veale Initiative will pilot groundbreaking innovations and technology with the ultimate goal to transform the entire sector. We aim to identify and test three to five 'proof of concept' ideas per year. A component of the proof of concept is ensuring a positive return on investment. We are currently estimating a $16 million ROI by the end of year two and a $156 million ROI by the end of year five.

We've already had great success with pilot initiatives. For example, we worked with our nurses to identify and then revise 80 policies in which the administrative burden exceeded the benefit. We then changed the 1,200 order sets that were linked to these policies, freeing up millions of dollars in staff time. We are also testing technology to do remote hospital discharge. Currently, the bedside nurse and the nurse care manager both perform tasks at discharge, but we are now in the process of consolidating both of these tasks into the duties of one role, saving significant time. 

We also plan a continued expansion of our successful Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocol, currently in place in 15 service lines across 11 hospitals in our system. Results show that patients following the ERAS protocol at UH have shorter hospital stays, use fewer opioids, have fewer post-surgical infections and have lower costs. In fact, the ERAS protocol at UH has resulted in a 63 percent reduction in narcotics prescribed at discharge. Under the aegis of the Veale Initiative, we'll continue searching this year and beyond for other opportunities for impact and success like this.

Jeremy Cauwels, MD. Chief Physician of Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, S.D.): In rural America, we need to meet our patients where they are. The next year will be a doubling down on this commitment. Virtual care allows us to make sure the adolescent experiencing a mental health crisis has access to a behavioral health specialist in time to make a difference. AI-enabled non-stress testing allows the pregnant woman who lives 100 miles from her OB/GYN to be remotely monitored without paying for a tank of gas, taking time off from work or finding childcare. It will take far longer than a year to transition to a new way of delivering and receiving care, but it doesn't take long to imagine a time when our patients will have greater control over how and when they receive care. This will not only improve health outcomes for our patients but will also allow us to fill gaps in provider shortage areas, which are more acute in rural areas where two-thirds of our patients live.

Cherie Smith, PhD, RN. Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President, Patient Care Services of OhioHealth (Columbus): I believe the aspect of my role that will change the most over the next year is how to best select and utilize technology to provide efficient, quality care by our nurses for our patients. With growing technological advances available, it's important to recognize that once the technological solution is selected and implemented, there's a high probability it may be obsolete by the time it's placed in service. Making the best possible choice at the moment will be an ongoing challenge.

Michael Bublewicz, MD. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Emergency and Urgent Care Services at Memorial Hermann Health System (Houston): As an operational CMO for the next year, my primary focus will be on navigating reimbursement pressures and ensuring the financial viability of my business unit while upholding the quality of care. Balancing economic sustainability without compromising care quality will be one of our industry's biggest challenges. 

Paul Coyne. Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City): Executive leadership, if viewed properly on the part of the leader, creates a space where the role evolves, not as a primary objective, but as a byproduct of the human who is in the role evolving. I cannot foresee how I will evolve, so it is hard to answer this question. However, I am going to try to do everything I can to evolve both me and my role in a way that brings forth more good for those I lead and the patients we care for. I am entering into my 2nd year as CNE, and much of the first year was putting the right people, structure, and process in place to achieve this goal.  Now that this foundation is set, I am greatly looking forward to the privilege of being in a position to make an even greater positive difference for staff and patients in a direct way. 

Lauralyn Brown. Quality Director of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center (Texas): A previous leader stated "There is no finish line in healthcare" and that is very true. Healthcare is very fluid and change in this field is in a constant state of motion. I have worked in a quality role for over 10 years and quality used to be "box checking"; did we follow this metric, if so check the box yes. 

Now – the quality focus in healthcare is patient safety, high reliability, and a focus on failure. While that may sound counterintuitive, focusing on failure allows healthcare organizations to identify the "what went wrong" to "how can we mitigate this patient safety risk before it happens." Quality leaders who are well-trained in high-reliability principles will be leading the way to make patient safety and high-quality care the number one focus in hospital organizations.

Gina Calder. President of Barnes Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West Hospital (Mo.): We need to radically increase our prioritization on the development of talent. Our talent pool is shrinking across all disciplines while our aging community generates increased demand – putting our ability to consistently deliver extraordinary care at great risk if we don't make drastic changes. Proactive outreach to diverse and global communities will help to close some of the gaps. It will also be critical that we become more innovative and accelerate how we develop, grow, and leverage the potential of existing staff. I will have to learn and engage other leaders to flexibly apply our team's skills and strengths beyond conventional spaces. At the same time, I must help us avoid inadvertently putting talent, especially diverse talent, on a glass cliff by ensuring a sustained balance of support and challenge.

Maria D’Urso, MSN, MBA, RN, FACHE. Senior Director of ACN and Maternal-Child Services at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens: I see my role expanding deeper into the community in order to further reach the vulnerable population in Queens. NewYork-Presbyterian Queens continues to dedicate resources to educate and provide our community with healthcare services and prevention screenings.

Ellen Feinstein, RD, MHA, FACHE. Vice President of Cancer Service Line Administration at Advocate Health (Charlotte, N.C.): The pace of change in health care continues to increase. We must adapt to new care methods, policies, regulations, and so much more. I see my role as a change leader, helping my teams see these challenges as opportunities to improve and educating my leaders on emerging technologies and best practices. Finally, the evolving labor market will require intense focus on attracting and retaining qualified talent to make sure we provide the best possible care to our patients.

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