In their own words: 91 healthcare executives discuss their mid-2023 priorities

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 91 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 are your top 2-3 priorities headed into the second half of 2023?

Mark Behl. Executive Vice President and COO of Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee): For the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, our top priorities include building on financial improvement initiatives and identifying efficient growth strategies. We are not in a position where we can cut our way to profitability, so we must find ways to grow the top-line revenue, even in times of economic downturn. We have to execute on the short-term strategies that helped us change course when faced with financial headwinds. We must also prepare for the inevitable pivot to growth. It is easy to become so narrowly focused on the day-to-day operations during a global pandemic, followed by a severe financial downturn, but we cannot lose sight of the longer-term view. We will use the second half of 2023 to balance both. 

Quanna Batiste-Brown, DNP, RN. Chief Nursing Officer of Ambulatory Care at UCLA Health (Los Angeles): Certainly, here are my top two to three priorities for the second half of 2023.

Building Workforce Resilience:

Fostering a resilient workforce is essential for navigating challenges and uncertainties. By focusing on employee well-being, continuous skill development, and effective communication, my goal is to create a work environment that empowers my team to adapt and thrive in any situation. Prioritizing mental health support, offering training programs, and establishing clear channels of feedback will contribute to a more resilient workforce.

Recruiting Top Talent for Key Open Positions:

Attracting and retaining top talent is pivotal for driving innovation and growth. In a competitive job market, identifying and engaging with the right candidates becomes crucial. Implementing a robust recruitment strategy, including targeted outreach, competitive compensation packages, and a streamlined hiring process, will ensure that your organization acquires the skills and expertise needed to excel.

Developing Sustainable Growth Strategies for Healthcare Demand and Clinic Expansion:

As the healthcare industry evolves, it's imperative to align growth strategies with the changing demands and trends. Developing sustainable growth plans that accommodate the increasing healthcare needs and expanding the clinic network will require a combination of careful market analysis, technological advancements, and efficient resource allocation. By staying adaptable and forward-thinking, I will ensure that my organization provides quality care while expanding its reach effectively.

These priorities demonstrate a well-rounded approach that addresses both internal and external challenges, ensuring my organization's continued success in the dynamic landscape of 2023 and beyond.

Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD. Chief Quality and Clinical Transformation Officer and Veale Distinguished Chair in Leadership and Clinical Transformation at University Hospitals (Cleveland): As part of our continuous quest for quality, University Hospitals is advancing on its organizational transformation toward maximizing value and zero harm by ensuring all of our caregivers believe their role in improving value, belong to a learning community and build disciplined management and accountability systems to ensure we deliver on strategic goals. Importantly, we remain focused on optimizing our cost structure by reducing complications, overall length of stay, and variation in length of stay among physicians, as well as implementing ERAS and mobility initiatives, and preventive healthcare programming that helps our patients avoid ED visits and hospitalizations. In turn, this helps free up hospital capacity. Together, these initiatives enhance our ability to perform under fee-for-service and value-based payment models.

Bharat Magu, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Yuma Regional Medical Center (Ariz.): In the heart of the rural southwest, YRMC stands as a vital lifeline, proudly serving as the solitary tertiary care hospital within a staggering 150-mile radius. As the dust of the pandemic settles, a pressing reality comes into focus: the challenges of healthcare access now loom larger than ever across all specialties. The region also poses logistical challenges for those seeking essential medical attention.

Despite the challenges YRMC is boldly charting a course forward, spearheading a concerted effort to enhance care delivery and bridge the gap between distance and medical necessity. The institution finds itself at a pivotal juncture, poised to navigate not only the evolving landscape of healthcare but also the intricate dance of recruitment and compensation strategy.

The arrival of the pandemic has underscored the urgency to reimagine healthcare access, and YRMC is embracing the potential of technology and innovative workflow optimization as a means to propel progress. For the second half of 2023, focus on the medical group and recruitment takes center stage. With a strategic focus on minimizing disruption, YRMC aims to harmonize its recruitment drive and compensation plan rollout, ensuring that the engine of care provision remains undeterred. As the institution continues to refine its approach, it stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to the potential for healthcare innovation to transcend geographical boundaries and enrich lives across the rural tapestry of the southwest.

Christine Larson, BSN, RN. Vice President of Medical Group Operations at Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, Ill.): My top priorities for the second half of 2023 are:

  • The recruitment and retention of high performing and high quality physicians, advanced practice clinicians, and nursing staff to support our multispecialty medical group at Advocate Aurora Health in the rural Northern Wisconsin communities we serve. 
  • Growth in understanding the transition from volume-based to value-based care models and how payers are responding to the culture shift. 
  • Creating a higher level of engagement and participation from physician leaders to collaborate with administrative leadership across all parts of the Advocate Aurora healthcare medical group in the Midwest region on shared decision-making to improve financial performance, population health index metrics, and patient experience/loyalty/likelihood to recommend.

Jose Lopez. Chief Medical Officer of Holy Cross Health/Trinity Health (Livonia, Mich.): First, we need to stabilize our workforce by reducing contracted work to a minimum. We must look at all our patient-facing processes and remove unnecessary administrative steps. And lastly, look for any opportunity to make it easy for physicians and nurses to do their job.

Catherine Mohr. Chief Nursing Officer of J Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital (Southport, N.D.): Nurse retention: engaging our nursing staff to stay and engage more in solutions that reduce burnout and a connection to our organization. 

Leadership development: Continue to engage our leaders in their development to focus on retention of staff. Interdepartmental opportunities to facilitate groups outside of their departments. All organizational departments depend on each other, yet we never really step into the different work to gain perspective.

Holly Geyer, MD. Chair of Mayo Clinic Opioid Stewardship Program of Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): The opioid crisis is everyone's crisis. Opioid overdoses, fueled by untreated addiction, are now the number one contributor to death in adults aged 18 to 45 years old and continue to reduce the average American life expectancy. It's imperative we understand that the solution lies not in prescribers exerting more power over opioids but instead in empowering the public to manage them judiciously and address their complications proactively. If we're going to change the direction of this epidemic, it's imperative every healthcare institution take on these top two priorities:

  1. Develop an opioid stewardship program at their medical center
  2. Screen for addition, integrate buprenorphine prescribing and have robust addiction referral workflows.

Ebrahim Barkoudah, MD. System Chief and Regional Chief Medical Officer of Baystate Health (Springfield, Mass.): 1. Investment in healthcare workforce: Recognizing the importance of investing in the healthcare workforce and enhancing training and support for healthcare professionals can help address workforce shortages, improve patient care, and boost overall population health.

2. Adapting to industry challenges: The U.S. healthcare industry faces various challenges, such as recessionary pressure, high inflation rates, and labor shortages. Organizations need to develop strategies to navigate these conditions effectively and ensure the provision of quality care while managing costs.

Heather Chung. Associate Chief of Nursing and Director of System Quality of Houston Methodist: As we prepare to close out 2023 few of my top priorities are resetting the culture around excellence in clinical care, hardwiring customer-centric care and preparing for SDOH reporting in 2024.

John Hamiel. Director of Pharmacy of MercyOne Waterloo (Iowa) Medical Center: My biggest concern for the fall and winter is what will be the impact of a tripledemic on the healthcare supply chain's stability and drug shortage. There are continued concerns over recovery of health systems from the poor financial performance over the last several years. How do we develop healthcare that is efficient and nimble enough to respond to future demands? My third concern is over continued staffing burnout at shortages.

Stephen Merz. Chief Operating Officer of Sheppard Pratt Solutions (Towson, Md.): 

  • Recruiting and retaining the best talent. 
  • Executing smart growth plans. 
  • Scaling services to meet needs. 

Beth Steele. Chief Operating Officer of Owensboro Health Regional Hospital (Ky.): Interestingly, our priorities are seemingly opposite in nature. We are focused on going back to the basics related to operational excellence including focusing on our people to ensure we are providing quality with customized service. Our second focus is leveraging new ideas, technology, and resources to battle the many headwinds healthcare is facing. 

Tyler L. Hill, DO. Chief Medical Officer of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (Grass Valley, Calif.): As we head into the second half of the calendar year 2023, we at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital are focused on several quality and safety initiatives. We remain vigilant in our focus on sepsis and hospital acquired infections. We have put together a committee specifically focused on heart failure mortality. We are also making additional focused efforts to optimize our hospital throughput. 

Two other key areas include our continued efforts on enhancing our physician and nurse communication scores as part of patient experience. Ensuring our teams are following the evidence based practices associated with rounding is a top priority along with continuously discussing what excellent communication looks like in healthcare. We also remain very focused on financial stewardship all while balancing growth and staff engagement. 

This is all like walking a tightrope, but that is healthcare in 2023.

Jeff Murphy. Vice President of Women's, Children's and Emergency Services and Associate Chief Nursing Officer of UChicago Medicine: We have shifted our efforts from recruitment to retention of clinical staff members, our physicians, and our residents. Our front-line leader's ability to be agile and creative in the ways we recruit, and train must be supported with the structures necessary to retain those new individuals. A concerted effort to imagine, design, and implement new care models to support expense management without sacrificing the quality of care we provide and the experience of our patients and their families.

Ahsan Mahmood, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Parkview Behavioral Health (Fort Wayne, Ind.): 

  • Talent retention and recruitment
  • Growth of medical staff training program
  • Differentiation of service line and market penetration

Athena Minor. Chief Nursing and Clinical Officer of Ohio County Healthcare (Hartford, Ky.): With so many challenges in healthcare today, priorities tend to shift as a new crisis is born. While we, as leaders, would like to identify specific areas of focus and consistently work toward those goals, flexibility in priority has been extremely important over the past few years. Someone once asked me who my favorite child was. While the obvious answer is that I do not have a favorite, the actual answer is the one who needs my attention the most at that moment. Healthcare is much the same way, so while my priorities were clearly defined at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, those priorities have shifted slightly at the end of 2023. 

I would say that while my priorities at the beginning of 2023 were to stabilize our workforce and maintain financial security, my new priorities (or I should say my renewed priorities) are to retain a competent workforce and promote a culture of care. While the former objectives are still important, the shift in priority has been driven by the shift in our current healthcare landscape. Coming out of the pandemic and into one of the worst workforce crises of my personal career, I believe workforce acquisition probably became the top priority of nearly every healthcare leader. Many times, there was little time to adequately prepare new staff for the tasks they were required to take on or to implement/continue ongoing training and competency programs. 

While the workforce shortage is still a concern and initiatives have been implemented nationwide to address the issue, my focus has now shifted slightly to ensuring the staff we have are competent and motivated to provide the best care possible to the population we serve. By making this a renewed priority, I am also addressing those former objectives.

Sam J. Foss. Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer of Mount Desert Island Hospital (Bar Harbor, Maine): 

  • Pathway to excellence designation.
  • Clinical workforce development with a focus on empowerment and shared resources.
  • Leveraging technology through evidence-based practice and automation to support the clinical workforce.

Ellen Feinstein, RD. Vice President of Cancer Service Line Administration at Advocate Health (Charlotte, N.C.): Our organization is continuing to pursue innovation and shifting sites of care to promote growth and respond to evolving patient/consumer preferences.

We have accelerated the deployment of virtual visits and telemedicine through the establishment of a department of digital medicine, and have dramatically changed our care delivery model to improve access to our leading experts.

As outpatient surgeries are moving out of the hospital setting, we are shifting cases to our outpatient surgery departments and are investing in our ASC network to free up inpatient capacity for our most acute patients. We have also been decanting unnecessary ED visits to alternative care sites where possible and effective.

Kimberly Tharp-Barrie. Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Norton Healthcare (Louisville, Ky.): My priorities include the elimination of travelers where possible with a continued focus on recruitment and retention. Focused attention on the magnet journey to uplift the voice and professional practice arena for nursing. Operational alignment across the enterprise to promote safe, effective, quality care, offering optimal access and ease of use to our patients and families.

Alan Dubovsky. Vice President and Chief Patient Experience Officer of Cedars-Sinai (Los Angeles): Top two to three priorities for second half of FY23:

  • Continuing to identify opportunities for improvements in patient experience that also help positively impact operations and the hospital bottom line;
  • Leveraging our data and analytics to identify patients that could most benefit from PX-focused interventions in real time;
  • Focusing on projects and initiatives that improve both patient and staff/physician engagement;
  • Offering the support of the patient experience team to help improve flow and throughput during capacity challenges.

Michael Bublewicz, MD. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Emergency and Urgent Care Services at Memorial Hermann Health System (Houston): My priorities for the remainder of 2023 include reducing healthcare workplace violence and enhancing physician and nurse engagement. Addressing workplace violence ensures a safe and supportive environment for healthcare professionals, fostering their well-being and effectiveness. Improving physician and nurse engagement strengthens teamwork, communication, and patient care, ultimately elevating the overall quality of healthcare services provided.

Tahlia Weis, MD, PhD. Surgical Services Medical Director of Marshfield Medical Center (Wis.): Top priorities include stabilization of medical and operating room staff with national and system changes with regards to traveler contracts, development and recruitment to "internship" certification in medical assistant, registered vascular technologist, and certified surgical technologist programs in order to train and retain our own workforce, and continued streamlining of efficiencies as we, as healthcare providers, are continually asked to increase throughput with fewer on-demand resources.

Chad M. Teven, MD. Reconstructive Microsurgeon, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago): Fundamentally, the mission of our institution is to improve the health and well-being of our patients as well as improve medicine in general. A strategic plan consisting of multiple pillars is necessary to realize this. In the near term, we hope to build a patient experience platform that is integrated, reliable, comprehensive, and can be navigated well. 

In addition, a key priority of ours is to facilitate employee well-being by the provision of a superior work environment. One means to achieve this on which we will focus is to develop and implement an employee program that emphasizes safety and professional development. 

Kristin Wolkart, RN. Executive Vice President and System Chief Nursing Officer and Operational Integrity of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (East Baton Rouge Parish, La.): 1. Rebuilding team member engagement with a focus culture and mission. In the post-pandemic era, focusing on rebuilding a culture of accountability, joy in the workplace, and focus on mission will continue to help us recruit and retain staff and rebuild our workforce. We can no longer simply increase wages. We need to articulate what makes us different so that we can become the employer of choice due to the way we treat our team members.

2. Enhanced and flexible staffing options to meet a changing workforce. Gone are the days of everyone working a 12-hour shift. Our staff want better work-life balance, so we must find alternative staffing schedules to accommodate the needs and desires of the workforce. The introduction of a wide variety of flexible options to meet our patient care needs is a challenge we are embracing at the end of 2023.

3. Growing key service lines strategically. Creating a focused strategic and tactical growth plan that supports our health system philosophy of meeting the triple aim is key work for the next 6 months. Lowering cost, providing high quality [care], with excellent customer experience in areas that our markets excel without duplication of efforts.

Meg Kim. System Clinic Operations Director of Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, Ill.): As a newly merged enterprise Advocate Health, Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care are partnering with Atrium to establish a standardized process for the routine vaccinations. We will focus on the new fall vaccines such as the respiratory syncytial virus vaccine including the monoclonal antibody for infants and children under 2 years and COVID vaccine. In addition we will continue to apply the high reliability principles to the vaccination process to improve safety while increasing the vaccination rates among the populations served. Vaccine equity is another goal as we strive to bring health equity to the communities we serve.

Jay S. Grider, DO, PhD. Chief Physician Executive of UK HealthCare (Lexington, Ky.): 

  • Workforce stabilization (nursing, techs, advanced practice providers, etc.)
  • Physician recruitment to care for increasingly complex patient cohorts
  • Ensuring high patient satisfaction and focused improvements in patient outcomes in the inpatient setting (mortality and MRSA reduction) and ambulatory settings (value-based population health and social determinants of health optimization)

Kim Bennion. Director of Respiratory Care Research at Intermountain Health (Salt Lake City): My top two to three priorities over the next half of 2023 are:

  • Improve recruitment and retention of students to healthcare programs, especially respiratory therapy
  • Improve recruitment and retention of healthcare staff within our organization, especially respiratory therapists
  • Launch our integrated research using artificial intelligence and remote patient monitoring for adult COPD and asthma patients

Nathaniel Beers, MD. Executive Vice President of Community and Population Health at Children's National Hospital (Washington, D.C.): The major areas of focus at this point are:

  • Staff retention/recruitment: Stabilizing the clinic and administrative workforce is going to be critical to the long-term success. It is requiring specific retention strategies to decrease turnover, but also recruitment efforts to ensure an adequate pipeline of staff.
  • Access to care: With adequate staff in place, the goal is to ensure our patients have access to care where and when they want it. It requires us to assess previous assumptions about patient behaviors and needs as well as the financial implications of expanding in specific areas and locations.

Darby Davenport. Manager of Operations, Telehealth at UAB Health System (Birmingham, Ala.): My top two to three priorities headed into the second half of 2023 are split into two categories: professional and personal. Professionally, my goals are to better understand the telemedicine landscape as a result of the end of the PHE, explore telehealth marketing efforts to reduce emergency department loads without violating EMTALA and other related legislation regarding access to emergent and labor care services, and to expand upon my interests in how telehealth can alleviate mental health disparities. 

Personally, I am challenging myself to read more, set healthy wind-down techniques before bed, participate in more philanthropic endeavors, and continue to practice my Spanish in the hopes of becoming professionally proficient. The first half of 2023 has caused me to become acutely aware of employee satisfaction, across all healthcare clinical and non-clinical careers, and I hope to build upon my professional relationships in order to practice setting an example of expressing a culture of openness and comfort.

Adam Haas. Administrative Program Coordinator II, Project Management Office at Cleveland Clinic: My top two priorities headed into the second half of 2023 are both professional and knowledge-based in the healthcare industry. These include developing my first mentee relationship in the healthcare realm that I can share my early careerist experience with. My second priority includes developing a better understanding of the analytical trends in the healthcare industry, specifically in looking at access to care for patients in low-income regions.

Daniel I. Simon, MD. President, Academic & External Affairs; Chief Scientific Officer; Ernie and Patti Novak Distinguished Chair in Health Care Leadership at University Hospitals (Cleveland): The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us why it's so important for health systems to have a talented workforce that thrives and stays engaged with their crucial work for our patients year after year. The evidence is clear; caregiver engagement is an essential ingredient in high-quality outcomes. To that end, top priorities for University Hospitals for the remainder of 2023 are to continue on our current positive trajectory for caregiver recruitment, retention and engagement.

Although challenges remain, we are already bucking the national trend. Our overall turnover rates for first-year caregivers and RNs are improving significantly over last year. Additionally, year-to-date external job fills are up nearly 10 percent over the same period last year, with RN additions up more than 28 percent. This success springs from a variety of creative programs to attract caregivers and keep them engaged at UH, from a daily morning newsletter with self-care tips, to recognition programs for exemplary work, to our novel program that allows caregivers to be paid for "volunteer time off" they spend with service organizations in our community. Other initiatives include extensive rounding visits to our hospitals and ambulatory locations on the part of the Executive Leadership Team, six new Employee Resource Groups to further goals of diversity, equity and inclusion, and our "Kindness Matters" and "UH Appreciates" programs, which have recognized thousands of our caregivers just this year.

But the work to build up our workforce doesn't stop there. Another key priority for the rest of 2023 is to continue our work to boost diverse representation in our clinical research workforce. When the people conducting clinical research are more diverse, that helps attract more diverse study participants – producing better, more representative science as a result. Our Research Integration and Education team is hard at work cultivating a clinical research workforce that looks like the population through dozens of touchpoints across Northeast Ohio, from high school and college career fairs to student job shadowing and internship experiences. It's an effort with impact. In 2022, the UH Clinical Research Center connected with more than 130 high school and college students in the region – with the 2023 number sure to exceed that.

When our caregivers are engaged in their work at a high level, providing compassionate care, our patients benefit. We will continue pursuing this win-win strategy for the remainder of 2023 and beyond.

Kendra Brown, MSN, RN. Nursing Director of Carle Health - Carle Foundation Hospital (Urbana, Ill.): Over the last half of 2023 our priority focus will remain on reducing overall system budget gaps while continuing to ensure quality excellence. Our budgetary stabilization efforts are focusing on continued reduction of contingent RN staffing utilization, reducing turnover of our permanent nursing workforce by promoting an open/transparent culture and educating our team members on good stewardship of our available healthcare resources, staff and stuff. 

Johanna Vidal-Phelan, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Quality and Pediatrics at UPMC Health Plan; Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: One of my top priorities is continuing to work toward health equity. I am a firm believer that healthcare should be non-discriminatory, and that to have meaningful and sustainable impact we need engagement in every aspect of our healthcare industry in order to eliminate health disparities. 

Issues that impact maternal and child health are also an important priority to me. As a pediatrician, I acknowledge the challenges many parents/caregivers are facing with respect to navigating care for their children. As a healthcare industry leader, I remain steadfast in my commitment to addressing vaccine hesitancy in an effort to protect children from vaccine-preventable illnesses. As national vaccination rates continue to decline, our team is committed to working with providers, caregivers, and families to address immunization rates in our communities.

Ingrid Gerbino. Chief Innovation Officer of Virginia Mason Seattle Medical Center: At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we're spending the second half of 2023 very focused on improving throughput in our clinical settings, looking at capacity and resources, and understanding where we can be more efficient. We have to be able to deliver the access to quality care and patient experience that our communities need, so we're evaluating everything from communication to staffing to better utilize resources throughout the system. 

We're also deeply invested in building our system culture and strengthening team engagement. Optimizing our team members and creating a positive work environment where everyone feels valued is essential to our success. One way we're doing that is through involving team members in formal process improvement training and events to be sure we hear their voices, and implement their ideas. Expressing gratitude is also important – even something as simple as a thank you note, connecting our team member's work to our organizational initiatives, can be impactful.

Darrell Bodnar. Chief Information Officer of North Country Healthcare (Whitefield, N.H.): Going into the second half of 2023 calendar year, North Country Healthcare is focusing on the planning and budgeting of projects and initiatives for the 2024 fiscal year. These include a variety of traditional projects and upgrades, but a primary focus on new service lines and optimization of existing systems and services. We will also continue to grow our data analytics and business intelligence services to meet the increasing needs of our data-driven quality initiatives. 

Another major initiative that is underway is to take a strong look at our workforce needs. Ensuring that a future-ready workforce plan is in place to meet the needs and strategy of the organization for years to come and ensuring the appropriate staff, skills, and competencies will align with and meet those needs. Our teams need to be working at the top of their skillset. Ensuring a full skills assessment is completed, an up-to-date and recurring compensation analysis is in place, and an action plan is in place to address career planning, succession management, employee engagement and experience and burnout. 

A completed gap analysis along with a plan to address recruitment, retention, and how strategic outsourcing can help address the gaps and augment the workforce. The workforce in the healthcare field will be our greatest challenge for the next decade.

David Baytos. President of Methodist Olive Branch Hospital (Miss.): Number one priority – physician recruitment: Over the past year our market has experienced a significant loss of physicians due to retirement, relocation to other communities for higher pay, or becoming physician travelers for higher pay. Significant resources will be committed to expanding our recruitment efforts to fill the voids in physician staffing throughout our healthcare system.

Number two priority – operating expense reductions: Because the payment increases received for providing care to patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid and commercial payers has not keep up with the inflation costs of providing healthcare services to those whom we serve, both from an individual hospital and healthcare system perspective, plans are being developed and actions are being taken to reduce the operating expenses of our organization.

Number three priority – expand market share: Methodist Olive Branch Hospital is located in a growing market and initiatives are being implemented to ensure we capture a greater share of our growing market by specific clinical service lines.

Adele Webb, PhD, RN. Executive Dean of Healthcare Initiatives at Capella University (Minneapolis): My two priorities are:

  • Continue to educate providers on the importance of the social determinants of health
  • Monitor the political landscape on healthcare-related issues

Matthew Mattner. COO of Fisher-Titus Medical Center (Norwalk, Ohio): I am focused on our people, our patients, and advocacy for rural hospitals. 

Our biggest investment this year has been in our people through benefits, engagement, individual and leader development, to recruiting and retention. It sounds like a lot of priorities but is really a coordinated group of actions and activities focused on the team that cares for our community. We are well along the journey of investing in our team and just need to see these programs through the remainder of the year and not get distracted.

For our patients, we continuously look at our mix of services, quality, outcomes, cost of care and patient experiences. What we do is as equally as important as how we do it and the impact of what we do has on the lives of the people in our community. We started a program to get out of our clinics and the hospital to do more in our community to promote health and wellness, from community gardens to investing in infrastructure, and health-related events such as health screenings and healthy activities. Our efforts in the last part of the year will continue these efforts to improve outcomes and improve the health and wellness of the people we serve.

Our leaders are also focused on advocating to educate elected officials and the community on the challenges we face in rural healthcare. Some organizations are trying to paint hospitals and health systems as the "bad guys" in healthcare. We are trying to shape a more accurate picture of healthcare in rural America to ensure our representatives understand the issues we face and address every day, from financial pressures to regulatory constraints to recruiting physicians and nurses and other clinical specialties. There are lobbyists in Washington and state capitals that are painting an inaccurate picture of healthcare and we are doing our part to share the perspectives from the people doing the work to care for our communities every day.

Daniel Siegal, MD. Vice Chair of Radiology at Henry Ford Health System (Detroit): The integration of mobile phones as a tool for culture transformation holds immense potential. Handheld devices that can seamlessly and easily access key clinical and non-clinical resources (e.g. the EMR, ERP, and CMMS) can catalyze a profound shift in healthcare culture, especially with some of the biggest challenges like communication silos, limited patient engagement, and the need for streamlined process. Mobile devices can help in addressing these challenges by enabling: (1) Improved visibility and cross-team communication and collaboration, (2) More patient-centered care from all stakeholders, and (3) Operational efficiency, data management, and automation - helping clinical, non-clinical, and support services teams do more with less.

Peta-Ann Anderson. CNO of Jackson North Medical Center (North Miami Beach, Fla.): 1. Effective communication across the continuity of care is imperative to improve patient outcomes, decrease length of stay, expedite the discharge process, and enhance overall patient experience. Therefore, my top priority for the second half of 2023 is to hardwire multidisciplinary rounds that foster purposeful communication among the clinical staff resulting in comprehensive, meaningful transitional care. 

2. Another top priority I plan to address for the second half of 2023 is emergency department crowding. We have experienced a significant increase in my facility's emergency department. As we emerge as a hospital of choice in our catchment area, we must continue to provide safe, effective care while maximizing throughput and operational efficiency. We will address efficiency in our ED by optimizing diagnostic testing and streamlining care for our lower acuity patients.

Gwendolyn Oglesby-Odom. CNO of Advocate Trinity Hospital (Chicago): As we look ahead to the year's second half, we do so with two main focuses: bolstering recruitment and retention of our nursing workforce and continuing to ensure our patients have the best possible experience.

Our nurses work tirelessly to provide the highest-quality care to our patients, and we are committed to their well-being. We have worked diligently to offer competitive pay and incentive programs and various wellness programs to help support our nurses. While the national nursing shortage required us to use agency nurses, we have been able to reduce the number of agency nurses by 50 percent so far this year, and we are laser-focused on continuing to recruit and retain talented nurses.

These nurses also play a pivotal role in each patient's experience while in our care. Our goal is for every patient to have positive interactions with our nurses. We are focused on ensuring that our nurses are good listeners and explain care plans to our patients. And we are pleased to have seen a very strong patient experience score due to this continued commitment.

Scottie B. Day, MD. Chair of the UK Department of Pediatrics and Physician in Chief at Kentucky Children's Hospital (Lexington): We must invest in kids' physical and mental health. The stress of poverty, exposure to violence, substance abuse and lack of access to primary care, preventative screenings, proper nutrition are just a few of the factors that adversely affect a child's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Adversity doesn't "build character"; it influences every aspect of a child's life and continues to inform patterns of behavior for generations. We are focusing on making children healthier.

Bill Munley. Market Administrator of Southeast at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Greenville (S.C.): Awareness, education and access are my focus as market administrator for Shriners Children's, and it is our system's goal to grow volumes by seeing more kids in more places. For example, as a global destination center for the treatment of pediatric orthopedics, I utilize a four-pronged approach to guide local strategy in our Greenville hospital:

  • Nurture relationships with providers and patients in immediate catchment areas
  • Target in-market federally qualified health centers, rural hospitals and critical access hospitals
  • Grow current and future alternative and bundled payment arrangements on a national level with both insurance companies and employers
  • Create more outreach clinics and affiliate sites

Sean McCleary. Vice President of Professional Services at Inova Health System (Falls Church, Va.): As I think about my top priorities heading into the second half of the year, it is really focused on three key areas:

  • Our team members and their engagement. Across our organization, we have seen some positive trends with hiring and retention of team members but we still have a lot of work to do in continuing to create the culture that allows our team members to thrive.
  • The second revolves around margin enhancement. We need to be laser-focused around expense management but also take advantage of growth and revenue opportunities that exist.
  • Patient access – We want to create many avenues of access for our patients to be able to get to us at times and locations that are convenient for them across all areas of our organization.

Jody Reyes. Senior Vice President and COO of Penn State Health - Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (Hershey, Pa.): Looking at the second half of 2023, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has prioritized patient experience and population health. Patient satisfaction will include process improvements, enhanced coordinated care, renovated environments and updated technologies. We've also added team members who will lead these efforts, ensuring that patients have a positive and respectful experience across the health system. In addition, we are taking a proactive approach to address health equity and early interventions in our communities. Outreach includes community health assessments and community garden programs to fight food insecurities.

Kelly McCullough, DNP, APRN. Regional Dean of Nursing Academics at Rasmussen University (Bloomington, Minn.): In the second half of 2023, I will be focused on team building activities, individual development planning, and program assessment. These activities allow the team to set meaningful goals, enhance skills, and utilize the data to drive decision-making to improve the achievement of the student learning outcomes and program outcomes.

Jeannine Nosko. Vice President of Patient Care and CNO at Aspirus Wausau Hospital (Wis.): My top two priorities headed into the second half of 2023 involve staffing models and innovation. We are implementing new roles such as ambulatory aids to bolster our bedside workforce. We are expanding our patient visual monitoring system to maintain oversight and safety, while creating efficiency and time for our bedside nurses. In addition, our leadership team is planning efficiency studies to improve our workflows for the front line. I believe technology solutions and alternative models are the future of healthcare.

Thomas Maddox, MD. Vice President of Digital Products and Innovation at BJC HealthCare / Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis): We are focused on fully implementing our digital front door digital experiences, flexible nurse scheduling application, and virtual nursing program. We've seen wonderful initial adoption and value of these efforts to date and are excited to deploy them at scale!

Bethany Daily. Executive Director of Perioperative Services and Healthcare Systems Engineering at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston): At Mass General, and in the broader Mass General Brigham system, we are heavily focused on optimizing our use of capacity in the inpatient and outpatient environments across the system, to best use our facilities and staff in support of much-needed patient access. This involves creating communication mechanisms and workflows that easily facilitate the placement of the patient with a location and clinical team that meets their needs. 

Additionally, there is a renewed focus on cost containment and the smartest use of our financial resources. I work in procedural services, and we represent cost-intense clinical environments; we must support the exciting clinical innovations that serve our patients, and do so in a way that is fiscally responsible. Doing this work as part of a broader health care system allows us to tap into our clinicians' expertise and also take advantage of our collective purchasing power when working with our vendors.

Joyal Pavey. Vice President of Advisory Group and John F. Butzer Center for Research & Innovation at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (Grand Rapids, Mich.): At Mary Free Bed, our priorities for the remainder of this year are focused on growth through strategic partnerships, enhancing patient access to acute rehabilitation, and advancement of rehabilitation research to elevate care.

Strategic partnerships will allow us to leverage our innovative care delivery model across the country and ultimately to serve more patients. Our model maximizes patient outcomes while bringing operational efficiencies and long-term financial stability to rehabilitation programs. We are investing in operations by managing resources in real time, ensuring the focus is on direct clinical resources needed to achieve the highest patient outcomes while eliminating process waste that doesn't translate into tangible patient outcomes. Most recently we announced a partnership with Corewell Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital to build Michigan's first children's rehabilitation hospital.

Through our care transitions and patient access programs, we continue to create measurements of outcome value as it relates to post-acute care. These measurements have allowed us to work in collaboration with third-party payers to enhance access to care that is often hindered by onerous prior authorization practices. We've made it a strategic priority this year to demonstrate how long-term sustainable patient outcomes are tied to resource utilization. Our current efforts have resulted in shorter patient length of stays in acute care, better patient outcomes, and lower costs of care over time.

Lastly, we have re-focused efforts in the field of rehabilitation research becoming a Spinal Cord Injury Model System in collaboration with University of Michigan. Other areas of research focus this year include patient recovery trajectories and use of artificial intelligence in rehabilitation.

These three key priorities reinforce our foundational principals, allowing us to embrace the delivery of safe patient care, while positioning Mary Free Bed as a destination rehabilitation system.

Nasim Eftekhari. Executive Director of Applied AI and Data Science at City of Hope (Duarte, Calif.): Currently, the foremost objective of our team at City of Hope is to harness the justly renowned large language models to address real-world challenges in oncology research and care. Our specific efforts revolve around the automated abstraction of intricate outcome data such as progression-free survival (PFS) from unstructured clinical notes, systematically arrange and summarize external medical records to expedite clinical review and decision making for patients referred to City of Hope, as well as providing assistance with clinical documentation tasks.

Ruthann Cunningham. Director of Healthcare Leadership at Utah Valley University (Orem): I am optimistic about the incredible force for good that exists in the incoming workforce. These leaders are accepting, they are talented in leveraging technology and AI, and they understand the role of social determinants of health in patient care. Moving into the second half of 2023, we are focusing on furthering a cross-functional skill set (business, quality improvement, IT, access, care) in medical school and MBA students. In addition, we are providing opportunities for professional connections and mentoring among leaders in the community along with peers.

Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD. Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President at Children's National Health System (Washington, D.C.): At Children's National we define innovation as the process of translating pediatric novelties and discoveries to our patients, families, and providers. As such, our focus is on novel regulated medical products that enhance our constituents' experience in our own environment and everywhere. 

Heading into the second half of 2023, one of the most important top priorities of my team is to use the discipline of innovation as a valuable intangible recruitment and retention tool. We'll continue to showcase our groundbreaking advancements in pediatric research and innovation through symposia, workshops, and boot camps, and provide opportunities for our clinicians to engage in research and innovation not only for their career advancement but more importantly to apply gained knowledge and novel technologies to their practice. 

Our next signature innovation event is the 11th Annual Symposium on Pediatric Device Innovation, co-located with The MedTech Conference, in Anaheim on October 8th. The focus of this year's symposium is on wearables and monitoring devices for the pediatric population. 

Manish Chadha, MD. Director and Co-Chair of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee at Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.): Top priorities: 

1. To continue to explore novel ways to leverage AI/ML algorithms to streamline and improve healthcare delivery. 

2. Automation to reduce the administrative burden on providers.

3. Development of natural language processing to improve diagnostic accuracy.

Susmita Pati. Chief of Primary Care Pediatrics and Chief Medical Program Advisor, The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University (N.Y.): My top priorities in the second half of 2023 are bolstering workforce development opportunities to further strengthen a positive workplace culture as well as leveraging digital technologies to improve efficiency in our ambulatory environment. We are bringing proven evidence-based innovative interprofessional workforce development programs to scale in our own academic medical center and in partnership with other organizations. 

In particular, our programs that are currently supported by a competitively-awarded cooperative agreement with Health Resources and Services Administration include a medical improvisation workshop focused on bolstering team cohesion – entitled the Alda Healthcare Experience, a single-session support center offering digital one-on-one consultations to healthcare professionals in moments of acute need, and narrative medicine workshops. In the realm of digital technologies, we continue to work on expanding our telehealth offerings to meet the needs of our diverse patient population and digital scribe support to meet the needs of our workforce.

Sriram Vissa, MD. Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs at SSM Health DePaul Hospital (Bridgeton, Mo.): With current staffing challenges and economic headwinds across healthcare, it is imperative to continue to keep our focus on our team members who focus on our patients in providing exceptional healthcare. Providing zero harm – error-free delivery of care is delivered through our journey to high reliability and using our continuous improvement methods by engaging all staff, leaders, and physicians throughout our ministry at SSM Health DePaul Hospital.

We have made significant strides in reducing standard infection ratios of hospital-acquired conditions: CLABSI, CAUTI, SSI and hospital-acquired C Diff rates at our ministry. Our culture of safety has also reduced our DART (days away from work, restricted work and/or transfer) rates for staff and employees in our ministry. We also are focusing on improving our operational efficiencies in our operating rooms through value stream optimization.

Heading into the second half of 2023, our goal is to continue on this journey to deliver value-based healthcare as seen through the eyes of our patients, families, and community. 

LeWanza Harris, MD. Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): At Mount Sinai, our goal is to provide high-value care for the patients and the communities we serve. The integration of artificial intelligence, predictive modeling, and machine learning is a strategic priority to reduce readmissions. Integrating digital technology demonstrates a commitment to a higher standard of care. It is a paradigm shift in the way we think about high-value care. Leveraging cutting-edge digital technology will allow us to more accurately predict readmissions and help us to drive data-driven, tailored approaches to quality improvements across our care continuum and connect patients to the right resources within the community.

Advancing equity in quality is also a strategic priority to provide high-value care. Equity in healthcare is an essential strategic value to ensure we are meeting the needs of our patients where they are as they engage with our health system and the communities they live in. It is important that we provide the learnings and resources for our staff and providers to improve our quality metrics from an equity lens. Our focus has been integrating a health equity lens into all levels of quality management. Mount Sinai has long been focused on quality improvement efforts to enhance systems and processes and ensure the best outcomes and safest care for our patients. 

When we began working with the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, we noticed that some departments and service lines were more advanced in their efforts to incorporate health equity into their improvement work. The key to progress has been collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders and leaders to guide the systemwide process to reinforce quality improvement through an equity lens. Our data analytics and stewardship team has developed quality dashboards that stratify data by race/ethnicity, gender, payer, and social drivers of health. This allows us to improve care and ensure we are making progress in an equitable way. Coupled with an understanding of the social drivers that impact patients' health, this data empowers clinicians to consistently provide the right care at the right time for every patient — every time.

Shelly Schorer. CFO of the California Division at CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): My top three priorities are labor shortages, patient access to care and post-acute placement of patients!

Julie Oehlert, DNP, RN. Chief Experience Officer of ECU Health (Greensville, N.C.): Our top priority for 2023 continues as a deep commitment to the human experience within all our healthcare settings. We are prioritizing our commitment to team and provider experience and well-being through listening and acting on their feedback to be sure we support environments where teams can thrive. This priority will net gains in attraction, retention and commitment of team members, a national worry for all of healthcare right now. Prioritizing team experience and well-being directly connects to our ability to deliver on our commitment to patient and community access to health information and services and our focus on delivering safe, high-quality, loving and compassionate care. One begets the other!

Martina Bison-Huckaby. Manager of Physician Learning and Development at UPMC Corporate Services (Pittsburgh): As a talent development manager with focus on physician leadership development for my organization, the three priorities for the second half of 2023 are:

  1. Increasing physician engagement and retention through leadership development programs that provide opportunities for professional growth, enhanced connection, collaboration, and empowerment. 
  2. Focusing on initiatives aimed at understanding, supporting and leveraging neurodiversity both as leaders and physicians.
  3. Launching a program aimed at increasing physician agility and ability to communicate change to their care teams.

Edith Okolo, PharmD. Director of Pharmacy at Cedar Crest Hospital (Allentown, Pa.): My top priorities are balance, top performance and high productivity. I hope to achieve this by taking care of myself. This may sound selfish but you cannot give what you do not have. Take care of the total man: spirit, soul and body, ensure they are in sync, working in harmony to avoid all kinds of imbalance that may lead to ill health. Work on my relationships as we do not thrive in isolation then I will have the focus to give my best to my organization and the society as a whole.

Paul Coyne. Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery (New York): The healthcare industry continues to become increasingly complex. In complexity, it is easy to lose our way. We must strengthen our focus on the only priority that is essential for healthcare. The patient. And the wonderful people who provide care to the patient. And everyone who supports that to occur. If we focus there, every time, we will find the complexity dissipate, and our path forward clear.

Tami Minnier, MSN, RN. Senior Vice President of Health Services Division and Chief Quality and Operational Excellence Officer at UPMC (Pittsburgh): At UPMC, we continue to prioritize delivering exceptional patient, member, consumer, and employee experiences and demonstrating quality and safety excellence. UPMC has a rich history of serving our community's healthcare needs. However, in the post-pandemic environment, staffing concerns, patient access to care, and financial burdens continue to dictate the need for healthcare transformation. 

We are focused on innovative retention efforts and staffing models, reduction of premium staffing spending and agency use, and enhanced pipelines for frontline staff recruitment. We are listening to the voices of our 90,000-plus employees through an employee engagement survey and are developing action plans to address their top concerns. In addition to our employees, our patients and their safety remain at the center of everything we do. Our future success hinges on leading with quality, reducing hospital acquired infections, readmissions, mortality, and improving patient outcomes and satisfaction. By focusing on our people and quality first, we will position UPMC to deliver high-quality experiences to all patients and providers and will see our financial performance improve as a result.

Brad Martin. Associate Director of Care Innovation and Community Improvement Program at UC Health (Aurora, Colo.): For our quality coalition, the number one priority will be making sure we have the capabilities to fully incorporate population health data analysis, data-driven decision-making and quality improvement science across our collaborative. As a statewide quality collaborative, it's challenging to bring four academic medical systems together to speak the same language and accomplish the same goals, so we're excited to capitalize on the great progress we've made in standardizing data and quality.

Our second priority will be to continue to find ways to put the patient at the center of our improvements and innovations. Developing a truly patient-centered approach to statewide innovation is a challenge, so we're all looking for ways to improve our connection with our Medicaid populations to provide the best quality care we can.

Lastly, and perhaps the most challenging, is to keep the foot on the gas in terms of innovation and quality improvement. We all recognize the significant headwinds that the industry is facing with resources, so one of our biggest priorities is to strike a balance between pushing ourselves forward on our collective care innovation priorities while still allowing systems to balance their internal priorities of providing quality care in their own regions.

Natalie Kennett. CNO of Cottage Hospital (Woodsville, N.H.): Right now I am focusing on recruitment and retention strategies. This is not a unique struggle in healthcare but what makes us unique with a need for creative solutions is being a critical access hospital. As a rural organization we not only struggle with the supply of healthcare providers not meeting the demands, we also have to account for the fact that many do not want to live in a rural area. Our strategies have to focus on growing our own, working with the school systems to provide more opportunities to interest young people in healthcare careers, and promoting rural life.

Dara M. Webb, FACHE, CMPE. Executive Director of Quality and Care Management at Mercy (St. Louis): Top two to three priorities: 

  • Maintaining staff in a competitive market
  • Addressing staff and provider burnout
  • Address maternal health equity

Brian Uridge. Deputy Director of Public Safety and Security at University of Michigan; Director of Security, Michigan Medicine at University of Michigan Health System (Ann Arbor): Over the next several months, the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety and Security will partner with Michigan Medicine to implement portions of a comprehensive safety and security plan. The primary focus of this plan is to not only ensure patients, staff and visitors are safe, but also and just as importantly, ensure they feel safe. State-of-the-art technology upgrades such as exterior cameras with analytics, which can observe and alert staff when a weapon is observed, advanced weapons detection technology at certain entrances and partnering to have community police officers assigned as part of the healthcare team are just a few of these upgrades.

Joanna Perdomo. Physician of Pediatric Care Center at Nicklaus Children's Health System (Miami): My biggest priorities for the second half of 2023 are: 1) rolling out a systemwide social determinants of health screener and ensuring that we have a solid system in place for providing resources to families, and 2) implementing a community-based nutrition education program for families.

Deborah Mordecai, DNP. Associate CNO at University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston): Here are my top priorities at The University of Texas Medical Branch for the remainder of 2023:

  • Staffing growth - Continuing to rebuild strength in our staffing numbers with a strong focus on employee well-being and career advancement.
  • Business growth - The maternal-child health business experienced particular challenges during COVID with decreases in census. The impact was great, forcing closure for some Children's hospitals across the nation. UTMB was fortunate to sustain through tremendous institutional support. We are focused on the future with a 5 percent growth in deliveries this year alone. 
  • Support for our leadership teams – Our leaders have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and beyond to ensure a positive environment for our patients and staff to flourish. Caring for this exceptional team of leaders is paramount, both as a business strategy and a moral imperative. We must care about others and fulfill their needs for a strong future. This is an area where I am absolutely passionate and will focus both my attention and resources to honor those who have served us so well. 

Kimberly Cantees, MD. Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at University of Pittsburgh Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine Department; Clinical Director of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital: As the clinical director, anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in a quaternary care facility, UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, I find that my main priority is working on the plan to staff our 45-47 daily anesthetizing locations. We anticipated a shortage of anesthesia care providers across our healthcare system one year ago due to the retirement and resignation of providers to explore more lucrative short-term opportunities. 

We have worked diligently to review our current care models and adjust, when possible, to maximize the use of available providers. UPMC Presbyterian is a part of a 40-plus hospital healthcare system and one of 16 hospitals in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, Pa). We communicate daily about clinical operations in all 16 of our facilities and attempt to consolidate surgical schedules when possible, in order to move anesthesiologists and CRNAs within the system to meet surgical demand as best we can. We anticipate this shortage to continue well into 2024.

Jonna Jenkins. Vice President of Patient Care Services and CNO at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center (Kan.): Our No. 1 priority is our employees - as an organization we are focusing on increasing employee engagement. The last several years have been challenging for all healthcare workers and we want our team to know that the leadership supports them. 

No. 2 - Recruitment of employed clinical staff. When I started with my organization one year ago we had 90 FTE of travel RNs; we are currently down to 18.8 FTE and dropping. It is very discouraging for our employed clinical staff to work beside less engaged and much higher-paid staff. 

No. 3 - Quality, as healthcare workers providing the highest quality care to our community is super important. This is the reason most of us get into healthcare is to actually provide quality care to our patient population.

Amy Cain, RN. Chief Quality Officer of West Tennessee Healthcare (Jackson): Having just started in my new role as CQO for a rural health system and understanding the current challenges across the healthcare industry, my focus for the second half of 2023 is on the fundamentals. In my role as CQO I am responsible for safety, clinical excellence, regulatory compliance none of which can be done well if we are not executing on the simple things we know work. 

Safety fundamentals – ensuring staff feel comfortable speaking up, and as an organization we respond well when staff stop the line or report safety events. I will also be spending considerable time on the front line observing workflow and hearing concerns and innovative solutions directly from front-line staff. The staffing crisis is real – and it will not be solved in a boardroom. 

Stephen Hoang, MD. Medication Safety Officer of Pediatric Anesthesiologist at Children's Health System of Texas (Dallas): Heading into the latter half of 2023, my top priorities include a combination of reflection and looking ahead. While it is important to start setting goals for 2024, I first plan to review what our team has accomplished year to date based on our 2023 goals. I am also reminded that there are still four months left this year. 

As a servant leader, it is a time to recommit to a culture of support that inspires each team member to be excited about their contribution to the team and organization's strategic goals. Following through to ensure that each team member has acquired personal growth and professional development in 2023 will garner a stronger sense of commitment and engagement as we finish 2023 and begin laying out our 2024 initiatives. Good leaders understand that people want to be empowered and have ownership of a team's success. As our pediatric system's Medication Safety Officer, my goal is to make medication safety a core component of the overall quality of care that we deliver in every patient encounter.

Pooja P. Vyas, DO. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Christian Hospital Northeast & Northwest Healthcare (St. Louis): Staffing – stabilize the workforce, and identify the need for FTEs for each department.

Quality – improve our quality metrics for our patients

Culture – maintain and improve our workplace culture and create a safe environment

Baruch S. Fertel, MD. Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety at NewYork-Presbyterian (New York City) and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York City): Our key focus is maintaining excellence in quality and patient safety and achieving high reliability. HAIs are a key focus and we continue to explore new initiatives to reduce the number of HAI's. We have a multi-pronged approach around diagnostic stewardship, reducing device use, case review and sharing lessons learned. Finally, we are bringing back our quality teams to the units where they can observe, coach and teach best practices.

Joanne Skaggs, MD, MS. Associate Chief Medical Officer of Adult Division at OU Health (Oklahoma City): Carolyn Kloek, MD, the CMO for OU Health has propelled the strategy towards a focus on standardization of best practice that accentuates the right place at the right time. There truly is a patient-first emphasis to advance patient experience while always keeping patient quality and safety first and foremost. As the care continuum evolves, so do the practices of the providers and the care pathways that we follow. The role of the case/care manager and their partnership is more and more important in this changing landscape of value-based care. Working within certain populations to pre-op plan with a team approach including social work, care managers, and primary care is one such example.

Tipu Puri, MD, PhD. Associate Chief Medical Officer of University of Chicago Medicine: In the coming months (2nd half of 2023) we will continue to focus on strengthening and optimizing our clinical operations to improve our capacity and access to care as a top priority. This will include identifying areas that need additional investment to support the growth of our programs and services. Our continued focus on quality improvement and patient safety, including reductions in avoidable readmission and healthcare-associated adverse events, will continue to be a part of this and every organizational priority. 

Another important priority is the engagement and re-engagement of our healthcare teams in building strong care delivery processes that support ease of practice and a focus on the needs of our patients. An important part of this engagement effort will be the development of physician leaders in the organization and completing the onboarding processes for greatly needed new clinicians and staff who have joined our healthcare system. 

Holly Muller, Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Presbyterian Delivery System (New Mexico): At Presbyterian Healthcare Services, our top three priorities, specific to the practice of nursing, are:

1) Designing a sustainable workforce model that optimizes the scope of practice and retention of the registered nurse while promoting the delivery of safe, reliable and effective patient care.

2) Innovating how we use technology to enhance the efficiency of clinical processes and ease of use for the caregiver.

3) Nurturing the well-being of our caregivers through the Compassionate Connected Care Framework™; enabling our clinicians to reconnect to their purpose and rediscover the joy in their practice.

Earlier this year, a nursing strategic plan was created for 2023-2025 and serves as the roadmap for advancing nursing practice and the delivery of patient care. This plan serves as the north star for prioritizing our nurses' individual and collective needs and for nurturing a healthy work environment and culture that enables our team to thrive.

Tyler Jones, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health at Banner Health (Phoenix): I am two related things. The DEA's call for input and decisions for telemedicine and continuing to support increased access to behavioral health treatment, including complex psychiatric and addiction treatment. As well as the suicide data from the CDC that, if confirmed, shows an increase in suicide after two years of declining rates. The largest increase was in the people over 65, which is of interest as this population is slated to grow significantly in the next few years and highlights the need for more effective interventions and focus on this population through interventional psychiatry and telemedicine.

Staci A. Hermann, PharmD. Chief Pharmacy Officer of Dartmouth Health (Hanover, N.H.): Financial sustainability; system growth/ integration; workforce recruitment and retention

Brian Carlson. Vice President of Patient Experience at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville): I would say the main priorities are the following in no particular order or weight. The first being support of the workforce during continued times of increasing demand for services. Second, maintaining and where possible enhancing the experiences for patients, families, and workforce members. Lastly, using data to identify and work to rectify points of friction in a patient's or employees experience.

Nick Rogers. President of Revenue Cycle at One Medical (New York City): I'm very excited for the continued development of AI-assisted solutions in revenue cycle operations. Between clinical documentation and coding, there is a burgeoning opportunity to transform the mid-cycle in healthcare providers of all sizes. Together with Amazon, One Medical aims to make the healthcare experience easier, faster, more personal, and more convenient for everyone.

Megan Gillespie. Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (Park Ridge, Ill.): Top three priorities from my perspective:

  • Vital need to leverage technology and innovation, while elevating compassion and human connectedness in care delivery to achieve equitable care and access.
  • Ensure investment in cultivating an inclusive, healthy work environment for healthcare providers at all levels to strengthen both the recruitment pipeline of the next generation and the retention of experienced professionals.
  • Invest in building a comprehensive, seamless healthcare delivery system for patients and consumers that ensures wellness and elevates prevention across all platforms to advance value-based care.

William Goodman, MD, MPH. Regional Chief Medical Officer, North Market Massachusetts of Steward Health Care (Dallas): In the second half of 2023, my top priorities as a regional chief medical officer include familiar and enduring concerns:

Enhance both the employee and patient experience:

Often discussed as if they are in separate silos, we must keep top of mind that patient experience will not exceed our employee and medical staff experience. In this highly competitive marketplace, employees and recruits must appreciate that they are highly valued, their institution is invested in their success, and see leadership routinely celebrate their contributions. 

By integrating our organization's core values of compassion, accountability, respect, excellence, and stewardship into all decisions, we reduce turnover and improve the employee experience. I encourage new employees and medical staff to move beyond the "Golden Rule" and adopt the "Platinum Rule" to help us develop a preferred place to work and receive healthcare. First made popular in the 1990s, the "Platinum Rule" tells us to no longer treat those you interact with as you would want to be treated; rather, be more empathetic and respectful, and treat others as you believe they want to be treated.

Respond to the opioid & substance misuse epidemic:

The morbidity and mortality rate from opioid toxicity and other substance misuse continues to climb, which has led us to strengthen our efforts to combat substance use disorders and collaborate with other stakeholders, especially those upstream from the emergency department. While the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed healthcare, the opioid epidemic's burden of misery continued to climb to where it is now responsible for nearly 5 percent of all deaths in the U.S. Until the goals of the Parity Law of 2008 are achieved, we will strive to eliminate the disparity between the services available to our mental health/SUD population and our medical-surgical patients.

Sustain highly reliable clinical operations:

Leveraging data derived from careful monitoring, measuring, and tracking of clinical services helps encourage clinicians to make changes and organizations to strategically allocate resources. Integrating well-established best practices into the local environment ensures we deliver efficient and cost-effective services, provides the clinical team with a path for professional growth and gives patients the greatest chance for optimal outcomes. To ensure durable adoption of operational efficiencies and standard work, leadership should be available on the frontlines to solicit feedback about obstacles and barriers that need to be mitigated.

These are current priorities and I expect that they will remain of utmost importance into and beyond 2024.

Matt Lutz. Chief Operating Officer at HCA Florida Largo West Hospital (Largo): (1) HCA Florida Largo West Hospital is poised for continued growth and expansion as we look to meet the needs of the community. Expanded outpatient services, both in scope and location, are a critical strategy for us as we look to provide the right treatment in the right setting for each patient. (2) Reexamining patient experience from a consumer perspective; we strive to elevate our value proposition as we seek to become the destination of choice for patients in Pinellas County.

Christy Bray Ricks. Vice President of Provider Talent at Ardent Health Services (Nashville): As we move toward the end of 2023, a top priority is to maintain and retain the positive hiring gains we have achieved throughout the health system – providers, nurses, and support staff. Additionally, collaboration with stakeholders on their strategic planning process inclusive of predicting workforce needs further in advance. As the physician candidate pipeline continues to advance their job search timeline, we need to be ready to secure talent years in advance. Lastly, there are multiple projects in process to allow us to continue leveraging investments in technology to support both the consumer and employee experience.

Trevor Brand. COO of City of Hope - Atlanta: Priority 1 – Democratizing cancer care – Over the next 3-5 years, City of Hope Atlanta is focused on increasing access points for patients seeking optimal cancer care. As our organization has recently shifted to a nonprofit hospital, we are looking to impact our community in much different ways through expanding access through additional payer contracts, physical access points, and adding additional service lines to meet the needs of the Georgia community and beyond.

Priority 2 – Increasing awareness for COH Atlanta – City of Hope is a nationally recognized, top 10 cancer hospital (US News & World Report) that has been serving patients for over 100 years, however, we are new to the southeastern region of the United States. This hospital system is highly focused on being more involved in the healthcare ecosystem and bringing awareness to the community on the incredible care/research patients have access to.

Jami Salzberg. Senior Director of Surgery, Quality and Informatics at Carilion Clinic (Roanoke, Va.): Priorities for the remainder of 2023: 

  • Increasing access to care and surgical volumes to continue to serve patients in a safe and timely manner while increasing revenue for the system. 
  • Using AI and predictive analytics to stay ahead of infections, readmissions and utilization of time and space appropriately to provide timely and quality care to our patients. 
  • Active involvement in ACS as a quality partner with undergoing the ACS Quality Verification Program site visit to improve quality and collaboration across the system.

Gina McManus. Director of Nursing and Women's Services at HCA Lawnwood Regional Hospital (Fort Pierce, Fla.): My top two priorities for the second half of 2023 are the following;

  • Increase my Press Ganey Score on response to concerns/complaints domain from a single digit percentile rank to above 50 percent at the end of the year.
  • Increase my staff engagement survey result

Matthew Webber. Director of Pharmacy Business at Novant Health (Winston-Salem, N.C.): For the second half of 2023, our 340B program will continue to focus on increasing access and driving value. Through our partnership with our contract pharmacies, Novant Health is also able to leverage our participation in the 340B program to provide patients with direct assistance affording their prescriptions. In 2022, this program provided nearly 9,000 prescriptions at no cost to patients. In 2023, we focused on expanding our footprint of contract pharmacies in all three of our major markets, along with expanding assistance programs. 

In addition to our contract pharmacies, Novant Health also offers in-house medication management and home delivery pharmacy services supported in no small part by our participation in the 340B program. Patients enrolled in medication management have the option of utilizing Novant Health Home Delivery Pharmacies, which aids in acquiring prescribed medications along with access to pharmaceutical counseling, disease state management counseling and assistance programs for all patients with a specific focus on indigent, at-risk, uninsured, and low-income patients. Ninety-nine percent of home delivery prescriptions dispensed through this program qualify for 340B discounts. Approximately 15,000 patients had their copays lowered for over 24,000 prescriptions at Novant Health pharmacies through the 340B program in 2022 and we expect this number to be greater in 2023.

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