Hospital executives need to 'emphatically and unwaveringly persist' to make change, says SSM Health Chief Transformation Officer Carter Dredge

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Carter Dredge, chief transformation officer for SSM Health in St. Louis.  

Mr. Dredge will speak on a panel at Becker's Hospital Review 7th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable titled, "Advancing Population Health" at 10:55 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: If you could pass along one piece of advice to another hospital executive, what would it be?

Carter Dredge: We all know there's areas in healthcare that need to get fixed. And while it may take longer to make improvements than we'd like, we have to emphatically and unwaveringly persist — despite the challenges — because changing anything this big and this important is going to be hard. Many of the patients who seek care from our organizations don't have a choice as to whether they have a given health challenge/condition or not — they just need help, and they have to use the current system as it stands. However, as leaders we do have a choice, and the responsibility, to make the system better. For the long run. For everyone. As health systems we all face similar challenges, and by working together and sharing ideas and best practices, we all can make it better for everyone we serve.

Q: What initially piqued your interest in healthcare?

CD: Before I was born, my mother was in a serious automobile accident, killing her mother and leaving her a paralyzed. As a result, my whole world growing up as a child was surrounded by interactions with the healthcare system on an almost daily basis. I accompanied my mother to doctor appointments, spinal cord injury forums and many other activities. I always loved learning about how things worked and tried to do all I could to ensure that she was getting the best care possible. I saw much good, and even world-class care in some instances, but I also saw and experienced many deficits. I think my whole "growing up" experience really attuned me to the importance of helping and caring for the most vulnerable and awakened in me a huge responsibility to ensure that we in healthcare always strive to improve.

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

CD: My motivation to come to work each day comes from the potential that organizations like SSM Health have to alleviate suffering. With so many transformational services at our fingertips today — things like virtual care, remote monitoring — and so many more in development, we can bring high-quality care to more patients, at more locations and at more affordable costs than ever before. In my role at SSM Health, I have the opportunity to take these innovations to full scale and help change the landscape of healthcare delivery for the better.


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