Top investment plans for 2023 from 63 health system executives and leaders

The executives featured in this article are all speaking at the Becker's Healthcare 13th Annual Meeting April 3-6, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

To learn more about this event, click here.

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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.

CEO / President

Cliff A. Megerian, MD. CEO of University Hospitals (Cleveland): By the end of 2023, the entire University Hospitals health system will be using a unified electronic health record platform: Epic. This includes all UH primary care and specialty care practices, UH Home Care, and all acute care locations.

With our goal of being the most trusted healthcare partner in Northeast Ohio, we are investing in a new nervous system for the entire organization that will transform how we deliver care by improving the overall patient and caregiver experience, better empowering patients to access their personal health information and interact with their providers, and by advancing our population health analytics.

The EHR implementation is an extensive effort involving more than 80 workgroups, 75 modules, 400 interfaces, 18,000 build configuration tasks, 140 data conversion extracts and 11,000 building block decisions. Our team has earned more than 1,000 EHR accreditations to support the implementation.

The financial and manpower investment we are making with this implementation is just one example of our commitment to our patients, our caregivers and the communities we serve.

Prathibha Varkey, MBBS. President of Mayo Clinic Health System (Rochester, Minn.): At Mayo Clinic Health System, our highest priority this year is continuing to invest in our staff. Our highly talented and dedicated staff are Mayo's greatest asset. These investments will address issues of burnout that frankly, all of health care has faced over the past three years. We plan to modernize and update compensation, enhance retention and recruitment efforts, create more inspiring and inclusive work environments, and continue to equip our tremendous staff with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies. We are also investing in the personal and professional growth of our people and continuing important work toward true diversity in leadership in administration, clinical practice, research, and education across the organization.

Michael F. Stapleton Jr. President and CEO of Thompson Health (New York City): Recruitment and retention is our number one focus. We are making progress but finding qualified candidates is an enormous challenge. [We hold] executive team meetings with all of our recruiters on a weekly basis to explore new ideas and track progress towards our goal of returning to pre-COVID openings. Newer education programs are gaining momentum and we have invested in our health care education fund. This is allowing associates to work part time while they go to school and we pay them full time as well as significant tuition assistance. The associate will give us back a minimum of two years upon graduation. This is opening up possibilities for our associates who otherwise could not support their families on only part time wages. As one associate told us, "This program is ending generations of poverty in my family."

Shane Strum. President and CEO of Broward Health (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Like many health systems, Broward Health is looking at capital investments as a pathway for growth over the next one to two years. From the modernization of existing infrastructure, to the development of new facilities, to the purchase of technology that will advance patient care, all of these capital projects are of equal importance to the health of our community and future success of our health system.

Rick Shumway. President and CEO of Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley and Stanford Medicine Partners (Pleasanton, Calif.): One of the most important things that we plan to continue to invest in over the next 12 months is our people and our teams. Most CEOs would likely give a similar answer, but in terms of how the workforce has been impacted over the past 3 years, not investing materially in the teams that are doing the work will exacerbate an already challenging environment. Investments in this arena mean a lot of things; certainly financial and compensation strategies are in play and important, but we also need to do a better job of understanding other factors that are impacting our teams both inside and outside the organization's walls. We will need to be creative in thinking about new ways to support the things that are important to our teams.

Ketul J. Patel. CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (Seattle) and Division President, Pacific Northwest of CommonSpirit Health: There is no more vital investment that we as a healthcare organization can make than the care, cultivation and development of our team. We cannot improve healthcare without the talent and workforce to deliver the highest level of care to the patients and communities we serve.

As we look ahead to 2023, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health will be focused on our workforce. As staffing shortages continue to plague our industry, we need to increase the talent pipeline of healthcare professionals not only in the Pacific Northwest, but across the country. Culture is at the heart of these efforts. We need to promote opportunities for self-care to prevent burnout and ensure the well-being of our providers and staff. We must create an inclusive environment for our caregivers, ensuring they are connected to our organization, have a stake in the decision-making process and love being part of our team.

To do that, we are investing in innovative retention and recruitment strategies. We are building out benefit programs that include well-being and work-life balance opportunities. We are investing in career development programs at all levels to help advance employees into technical and professional pathways. We are considering innovative scheduling and flexibility where possible to meet lifestyle needs. And we are cultivating stronger relationships with area technical and nursing schools to develop stronger pipelines.

We are also investing in the future by offering scholarships to our team members who have high school students and are seeking careers in healthcare. We're engaging young adults in vulnerable communities to open their eyes to opportunities in healthcare employment. Through the historic partnership between CommonSpirit Health and Morehouse School of Medicine, we are committed to building a more diverse team of clinicians, and a more dynamic workforce, which will have a positive impact on our health system, as well as the larger Puget Sound region. We believe these investments today will help us build a stronger, more inclusive, and responsive health system for tomorrow.

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, Founding Dean and CEO, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (Pasadena, Calif.): For a new medical school like ours that opened its doors in 2020, in-person gatherings are essential to building community. Our big schoolwide celebrations and shared meals this year have been joyful — and delicious. But we know we have to be intentional about creating spaces where people can get off Zoom and get to know one another, and establish the trust and respect needed to tackle any challenges that we confront as a school. So one important investment we're making in 2023 is facilitating exchanges among members of our community who might not ordinarily get the chance to interact, using the Intergroup Dialogue approach. It's a practice that emphasizes openness to different perspectives, deep listening, curiosity, and civility, and appreciates people's diverse backgrounds and experiences.

We've trained four faculty and staff members to facilitate these sessions and guide small groups of students, faculty, and staff through topics that matter to our school. It's part of how we build connection and belonging in our growing community, which I know will make us stronger and better prepare our students to care for diverse populations of patients.

Peter D. Banko. President and CEO of Centura (Centennial, Colo.): Our most important investment in the past 12 months and into the next 12 months is the fundamental rethinking of our healing ministry and developing transformational leadership skills in our leadership and caregivers.

We are in the midst of the worst and most challenging health system financial performance since 2008. And it feels very different this time around: the Great Resignation and the lowest unemployment rate in our work lives; record inflation rate and large interest rate hikes; near zero forecasted economic growth; a bear stock market; delayed care and changing utilization patterns with consumers struggling more than ever with affordability and access. The collision of all these forces has exposed our proven health system revenue-expense model.

It is critical to heavily invest our time, talent, and treasure to truthfully understand where we are strategically, operationally, and financially. Where we are meeting expectations. Where things are shifting. Where we are missing. Where we need to challenge our traditions and paradigms. Making commitments, developing plans, and executing on those plans. This is a discipline of every day, every week, and every month.

This requires the nurturing of individual and collective talents and gifts. A mission-, purpose-, and values-driven orientation. A team-first attitude to help others rise to the occasion. Effective communication and a 24/7/365 leadership style. A charisma of listening, presence, gratitude, and accountability. A shared vision to look toward a transformational future yet also seeing the smallest details along the way. Curiosity to drive toward innovative solutions. Simplicity in structure and a bias toward results.

Cathleen Wheatley, DNP, RN. President of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations: The most important investment Atrium Health will make in the next 12 months is a continued focus on our people. Our teammates are the backbone of our ability to provide safe, high quality, and efficient healthcare to our community. Specific strategies include establishing a unified culture that creates a welcoming workplace for all, ensuring competitive compensation including increasing our living wage, career ladders and learning opportunities for continued advancement, providing systems and resources to maximize workplace safety and open and transparent communication about growth and integration initiatives and the associated advantages to our workforce and our community. The war for talent in healthcare has never been greater and it is a strategic imperative that we retain our talent and create an environment conducive to attracting top talent.

Jill Hoggard Green, PhD, RN. President and CEO of The Queen's Health System (Honolulu): The Queen's Health System is making the safety and well-being of our team members its highest priority. Unfortunately, incidents of workplace violence occur more in healthcare than in any other industry. In fact, violence against healthcare workers is a national crisis, and it's only escalating. Research shows that an early warning and de-escalation can prevent serious safety and security incidents.

Because we are committed to providing a safe work environment that is free from violence or the threat of violence, we have developed a robust plan that includes evidence-based interventions to reduce workplace violence. In the coming year, we will make the important investment of a personal duress alarm for every team member, protecting them wherever they may be working. In addition to deploying the Strongline staff safety system, Queen's has also rolled out an enhanced training and education program. Simply put, every team member must feel and be safe at work for their own benefit and for the benefit of their patients.

Joseph Webb, MD. CEO of Nashville (Tenn.) General Hospital: Nashville General Hospital serves as the essential public safety net hospital for Nashville, Davidson County. NGH, which opened its doors in 1890, is the city's original hospital. The mission of NGH is to improve the health and wellness of Nashville by providing equitable access to coordinated patient-centered care. The goal is to utilize limited resources to create capacity to care for an infinite number of patients by using the existing care management model. To continue achieving success and meeting growing demands, certain structural and process conditions must be upgraded and optimized.

NGH moved to its current site in 1998 under the arrangement of a 30-year lease. The site is on the campus of Meharry Medical College and is the building that previously housed the medical school's Hubbard Hospital. The building which was constructed in 1973 is a vertically built structure with limited functionality, inefficient, and in need of major capital improvements. After presenting results of a feasibility study to the hospital Board of Directors with the option to remain in the existing building or pursue new construction at a different location, the board voted to pursue new construction. The current lease will expire in 2027. NGH is currently in preliminary stages of space planning for the hospital's services, creating financial proformas, identifying real-estate, and securing financing for new construction. The goal is to engage in a new hospital project that will yield a state-of-the art public teaching hospital by the end of 2026.

Nashville is listed as the 10th fastest growing city in the nation with more than 100 families moving in daily. Economically, Nashville is the home of country music and the healthcare capital of the U.S. The economy is thriving; however, there is still a growing need to address health inequities and social determinants of health, which are fundamental causes of health disparities. NGH will need the resources of a new and expanded hospital structure, which allows for the addition of such services as acute inpatient behavioral health, trauma designation, and skilled nursing beds. The work has begun and the growing population of patients, insured as well as indigents, will be exposed to excellent comprehensive healthcare in a state-of-the art facility.

Richard Allen. CEO at Warren (Pa.) General Hospital: I offer that one of the most important investments our hospital has recently made is in the professional development of our leaders. Through a collaborative arrangement with the ACHE Center for Creative Leadership, all Warren General Hospital Department and Service Line leaders completed the ACHE 360-degree performance evaluation and management development program.

As the complexity of managing a successful and stable hospital increases exponentially, our department and service line leaders need to be prepared to define their operating reality, instill a vision of stability and success and develop and execute strategy to achieve goals and objectives. Organizational success will only be realized through our managers' ongoing collaboration and collective leadership. Success is a team effort! Investing in the professional development of all our managers will be a 'force multiplier' at addressing the many challenges operating a hospital today.

Ronda Lehman, PharmD. President at Mercy Health - Lima (Ohio): At Bon Secours Mercy Health, we are making significant investments in the workforce of our organization. Not only to help them achieve their educational and career goals but also to support them in their personal lives. Our generous tuition program provides access to 100 percent paid, tuition-free programs for priority roles at BSMH (including books!). This approach to lifelong learning has no lifetime maximums and will continue to help associates grow while in the ministry. In addition, we offer eight weeks of paid parental leave for parents to allow them time to bond with their newborn or newly adopted child. These two highly successful programs demonstrate the considerable investment we are willing to make to support our staff both now and in the future.

CFO / Finance Leader

Shireen Ahmad. System Director Finance - GPO and Affiliate Business at CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): In light of disruptions in healthcare supplies due to worldwide shortages, escalating product prices, and fluctuations in demand, one of the most important investments CommonSpirit Health is making is the development of an integrated supply chain and building international sourcing capabilities. By investing in global supply chain management and logistics, CommonSpirit is developing greater sophistication through vertical integration of distribution from production to consumption. By building these capabilities, CommonSpirit will be able to weather the considerable disruptions felt by other healthcare entities while continuing to provide a high level of patient care.

Jim Heilsberg. CFO at Tri-State Memorial Hospital & Medical Campus (Clarkston, Wash.): Our top investments go into the replacement of CT, second CT and replacement MRI; replacements at end of life.

Dane Wheeler. CFO at Adams Memorial Hospital (Decatur, Ind.): I think the most important investment will be in our people....raises, market adjustments, benefit improvements. Next to our patients are our folks. We need to do everything to keep and grow them.

Strategic Leader

Donald A. Sinko. Chief Integrity Officer at Cleveland Clinic: Clearly, the most important investment will be in our caregivers, our most important asset. Providing competitive compensation, and the tools and safe environment necessary for them to serve our patients.

Matthew Munroe. Administrator, Hospital Operations at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Columbus): The most important investment our organization will make in the next 12 months is focusing on our WHY! The healthcare industry is facing a people crisis. We are challenged to find enough clinicians or support personnel. These challenges are creating financial pressures as we utilize contract staff, incentive pay, and face increasing wages. It is time we return our focus to the WHY.

Healthcare leaders must focus on their mission, what makes their organization different and how we serve our communities. While our compensation models must be competitive and fair, throwing money at the problem is not sustainable. If we return to discussing how we make an impact each day and how we create a culture that supports our team members to know they are making a difference, we can not only hire the right people but retain our current team members. The goal must be to promote what makes us a company you are proud to work for and a true employer of choice. The mission matters!

Mike Gentry. Executive Vice President and COO at Sentara Healthcare (Norfolk, Va.): Freedom. We are investing more in the freedom to think, coordinate, plan and execute. The freedom to make decisions. If we have done our work well and onboarded team members appropriately, we will know where we have the 'D,' where we need to involve others and where to make recommendations. We will understand the swim lanes in the organization, who does what, and how to get things done.

This investment is about giving transparency into how the organization supports team members, from the spark of a creative moment to the introduction of new services/offerings that consumers really appreciate. Two resources we have found useful include "The Speed of Trust" and Mercado Libre's "Employee-Enabled Autonomy." Our early investment here comes with recognizing that some space and grace are vital as we stretch these muscles.

Management's ability to listen and accept counsel/feedback is likely more important than offering it. When colleagues can easily visualize where an idea would fit within the organizational strategy (or improve upon it), that's a hint of progress. This knowledge allows one to know the next steps in evaluating an idea. Some have said the investment yields increase when sprinkled with humility and listening.

Jeffrey L. Cohen, MD. Executive Vice President and COO at Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare: Hartford HealthCare is investing in its digital transformation as a tool to improve access to care for all. For example, our recent partnership with Google Cloud will securely use health data to understand each patient's holistic health needs better, discover previously undetected patterns in data, advance population health and offer more timely personalized care. Furthermore, we are excited to be the first health system to partner with Google in developing a more personalized patient experience, one that anticipates the patient's needs and ensures that the right care is just one click or one call away.

Arianne Dowdell. Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at Houston Methodist: Our major focus for the next year is addressing health equity. We're looking at how we're measuring equity within our organization, creating tools that build integrated approaches to health equity, and looking at national benchmarks for equity to help ensure we're on the right path. It's critical that our employees understand what health equity is and the role all 28,000-plus employees at Houston Methodist play in creating an equitable environment for our patients and how that helps achieve improved health outcomes.

Brian T. Canfield. COO at Blessing Health System (Quincy, Ill.): The most important investment that our organization will make in the next 12 months is continuing to be in our people, our most precious and critically important necessity to the work that we do — providing the highest quality healthcare to the members of the communities we serve.

Liz Popwell. Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Stony Brook (N.Y.) Medicine: Stony Brook Medicine has a tremendously rich history of innovation. Over the next year, we plan to advance our investments in novel care models and academic solutions for the workforce of the future.

Sean Poellnitz. Chief Resource Officer, Renown Health (Reno, Nev.): Here at Renown Health in Reno, NV, we are making a significant community investment in our people, customer service, and healthcare facilities to transform care, improve the economy and enhance the quality of life for generations to come. This year, given significant consumer demand for Renown providers and services, we announced $469 million in planned investments, including hospital campus improvements and new healthcare facilities to meet the growing community need.

Nevada ranks as one of the top fastest-growing states in the country, with 15.21 percent growth over the last 10 years. The transformation of our hospital campuses represents one of the single most significant investments in healthcare facilities, services, and programs in the state. It is a result of putting people first to enhance healthcare access, experiences, outcomes, and affordability for everyone in our community.

Puneet Freibott, DNP, RN. Chief Administrative Officer of University Medical Center New Orleans: The next 12 months will provide the organization many opportunities to provide lean efficiencies in the workplace. The labor shortage will continue and the remaining engaged staff will look to leaders to provide a workspace that is efficient and effective.

Katherine Kalthoff. Division Vice President of Patient Experience at Methodist Healthcare (San Antonio): The most important investment we can make is in our teams, both our leadership teams and our frontline teams. Staffing continues to be a challenge for most of us, so it isn't enough just to recruit and get them here, we have to retain and keep them here. Giving our leaders the tools and training they need to be effective and supportive makes it easier for our staff to deliver exceptional care to our patients and feel good about the work they do.

CIO / Innovation Leader

Joel Vengco. Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Digital Officer at Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare: In November, we established a partnership with Google Cloud to accelerate our data and digital transformation with a focus on revolutionizing access to care. Patients across the country continue to need help accessing the care they deserve and knowing where to start their care journey. At HHC, we believe that to achieve our vision of personalized, coordinated care; we must leverage data and digital capabilities to personalize the patient journey and empower both patient and care provider with digital tools to harness the capabilities of HHC's ecosystem.

Our 12-month roadmap includes three major initiatives: 1) Modernizing our data and compute infrastructure by moving to the cloud, starting with two of our eight data centers; 2) Achieve data liquidity by building our Hartford HealthCare Data and Digital platform (H2D2) that leverages Google's Health Data Engine; and 3) Harnessing this unique Google partnership to transform the way we operate and deliver care, starting with the challenges we see in access.

Eric Poon. Chief Health Information Officer at Duke Health (Durham, N.C.): I think our organization will invest heavily in digital initiatives related to Patient Access and Capacity Management. We'll be promoting ubiquitous patient self-scheduling for provider appointments, radiology tests, and phlebotomy as a way to empower patient-centered care and alleviate the burden on our staff. We will also be further promoting video visits for return visits to minimize patient travel while maximizing the use of our brick-and-mortar practices for patients who need to come in person. On inpatient capacity management, we will be scaling up our virtual care center to provide remote support to our acute care nurses by taking on tasks and offering advice.

Michelle Stansbury. Vice President of Innovation and IT Applications at Houston Methodist: We're always looking through the lens of our patients, making sure we're marrying innovation and technology to deliver healthcare that meets the needs of everyone who walks through our doors or engages with us virtually. Our care redesign initiatives will remain a priority for the next 12 months and continue beyond that as we plan for our smart hospital of the future opening in 2025.

Rethinking the way we deliver patient care will address the current nurse staffing challenges and allow us to partner with technology and health care companies to solve for these challenges all while maintaining great, quality care for our patients. Voice technology also will play a key role at Houston Methodist over the next year, especially as we continue to explore ways to ease the burden of documentation for physicians and nurses.

Karen Murphy, PhD, RN. Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Geisinger and Founding Director of the Steele Institute for Health Innovation (Danville, Pa.): Our focus will be on expanding our use of automation and digital technology to both streamline the patient experience and address the staffing challenges that our industry is experiencing. We have had great success automating processes to eliminate the need for human intervention, which has resulted in cost savings as well as improvement in employee satisfaction.

We plan to expand our use of virtual nursing to perform admission and discharge processes. Virtual nursing eases the burden on our nurses, and is attractive to nurses who may not want to work in a unit but want to remain in the field. We will also increase our use of self-check-in kiosks, which allow patients to complete check-in without assistance from an employee.

David Chou. CIO of Legacy Community Health (Houston): We want to focus on the four areas below as the output of our innovation center.

1. Improving patient care: Innovation centers can help healthcare organizations develop new technologies, treatments and processes to improve patient outcomes and experience.

2. Staying competitive: Healthcare organizations that invest in innovation can differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract top talent.

3. Driving efficiency: Innovation centers can help healthcare organizations streamline their operations and reduce costs by developing and implementing new technologies and processes.

4. Enhancing research and development: Innovation centers can provide a space for healthcare organizations to conduct research and development activities, which can lead to the development of new products and services.

5. Building partnerships: Innovation centers can facilitate collaboration and partnerships with other organizations, such as universities, startups, and industry partners, which can lead to new opportunities and innovations.

Darrell Bodnar. CIO at North Country Healthcare (Whitefield, N.H.): Like many organizations our most important investment in the next 12 months will be in our employees. While many technology investments are being made in the next 12 months, including workload automation, systems integration, and patient experience, there is nothing more important than our employees. Considering all the labor challenges, the investment in technology needs to not only expand services and control costs but also reduce workloads and hopefully reduce the stress and fatigue so many healthcare workers are experiencing.

Linda Stevenson. CIO at Fisher-Titus Medical Center (Norwalk, Ohio): We will invest in solutions to streamline the connection to our patient. This may include a digital front door, integration with SDOH and other options to help our patients engage in their own care. This is critical not only to attract and retain our patients but also to help them be their own advocate in improving their health and wellness.

Thomas M. Maddox, MD. Vice President, Digital Products and Innovation of BJC HealthCare/Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis): Over the next 12 months, our organization will be investing in technology to improve and extend our inpatient nurses' ability to provide safe, effective, and patient-centered care. Specifically, we believe that supporting our nurses with virtual nursing, flexible scheduling, documentation reduction, and automation of basic tasks will enable our nurses to practice at "the top of their license" and spend more time in conversation and support of their patients.

Chief Medical Officer / Physician Executive

Peggy Duggan. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital: One of the most important investments we are making at Tampa General Hospital in the coming year is becoming a true high-reliability organization. This journey will provide to our team members and medical staff the knowledge skills and capability to ensure Tampa General is the safest and most innovative healthcare system in the country. Our teams have been hard at work learning the principles of high reliability, identifying risk and removing outcome bias from our daily work. We are energized by the opportunity to develop resilient systems to drive safely.

Elham A. Yousef, MD. Vice President of Medical Affairs and Associate Chief Medical Officer of Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital: As a leading academic medical center serving a 27-county area in Florida, we are constantly seeking to provide the safest and most innovative patient care. Leveraging data analytics, artificial intelligence and innovation in our system-level approaches allows us to maximize values for our patients, improve our efficiency, and effectively manage costs.

Areas that we're focusing on include the reduction of avoidable readmission. We are using predictive analytics to identify patients at risk for readmission and understand the drivers. This allows us to identify the interventions that will minimize that risk. Another data-driven focus is reducing variation, eliminating waste and inappropriate utilization of inpatient images and blood-and-blood products which is a critical task as we are constantly facing a national shortage of blood supply. Our strategy of applying data analytics and prediction models enables us to deliver on our commitment to Zero Harm and provide the safest, most innovative care that our community needs and expects from Tampa General Hospital.

James F. Kravec, MD. Chief Clinical Officer and System Medical Director, Graduate Medical Education at Mercy Health Lorain, Mercy Health Youngstown; Bon Secours Mercy Health (Cincinnati): Mercy Health Youngstown and Mercy Health Lorain will continue to focus on recruiting the highest quality physicians. There is a plan for physician recruiting that is set and modified every year based on clinical need and community opportunities. This investment is extremely important for Youngstown and Lorain as it will grow our patient base and keep patients in their own community. As healthcare changes dramatically in 2022-2023, we know we cannot be stagnant and physician and consequently patient growth will allow our markets to grow and continue to be successful.

Andy Anderson, MD, MBA. Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality Officer at RWJBarnabas Health (West Orange, N.J.): We are doubling down on our quality improvement efforts to achieve exceptional outcomes for our patients and improve the health of the communities we serve. All of our patients deserve easy access to coordinated, integrated services. We are committed to best-in-class service, zero preventable harm, health equity, and state-of-the-art care in our centers of excellence. To achieve this, the most important investment is in our people, including our physicians, nurses and staff to deliver these exceptional outcomes at the front lines of health care.

Daniel Durand, MD. Chief Clinical Officer at LifeBridge Health (Baltimore): The most important investments that any healthcare organization will make in the next 12 months will be those focused on the sustainability and efficiency of the provider workforce, including those closest to the point of care such as nurses. The ongoing workforce shortage is just the tip of the iceberg, and will unfortunately become more acute in the coming years as the remaining and largest sub-cohorts of the baby boomer generation reach Medicare eligibility.

Over the past decade, competition within healthcare has slowly shifted from being mainly about "competing for market share" to being mainly about "becoming the employer of choice" for high quality providers within a given geography. Investments that improve efficiencies in back office operations, EHR usability, and workflow in order to improve the experience and compensation available to hire and retain the dwindling supply of licensed and credentialed providers will arguably do as much or more for patients than incremental investments in high tech tools like AI, analytics, etc.

Winning systems will be those that invest in, and execute on, delivery models that keep providers at the top of their license and leverage them to maximal productivity in a sustainable fashion, attracting the right providers in the short term while also avoiding burnout over the long term.

Alexa B. Kimball, MD. President and CEO of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC (Boston): We will continue to invest in our people, keeping the well-being of our physician staff our highest priority. The COVID-19 pandemic placed the provider workforce under a tremendous amount of stress, including stress outside of work. The problem is particularly acute among young parents, female faculty, and under-represented minorities. Our goal for 2023 is simple: to make sure that every employee knows they are valued and supported.

Our focus remains on providing clinicians with resources both at work and in the home. For example, we will continue to offer our employees adaptable meal preparation and laundry trial options as well as educational tools for their school-aged children. In addition, we recently launched new employee leave programs and are actively investing in new training and career development programs, along with DEI recruiting initiatives, to ensure all possible career opportunities are available to everyone within the organization.

Shlomit Schaal, MD, PhD. President at UMass Memorial Medical Group; Senior Associate Dean for Health Strategies at UMass Chan Medical School; Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at UMass Memorial Medical Center (Worcester, Mass.): The number one most important investment UMass Memorial Medical Group is making right now is in our people. Our goal is to be the place people want to work. We not only want caregivers to join us here, but we want the amazing caregivers we already have to stay. We are doing so by ensuring our caregivers are engaged and feel fulfilled in their work, that they feel a sense of purpose and connect with our mission.

We are working to provide a supportive environment where our caregivers feel they are making a difference, have the tools and technology they need to do their job well, and are compensated fairly. We are providing opportunities for our caregivers to develop and grow professionally. And we are creating a culture where our caregivers feel safe and belong. Ensuring that our people feel engaged, appreciated and satisfied in their work is our highest priority because investing in your people is the most valuable investment one can make.

Derek Wheeler, MD. Chief Medical Officer at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago: After nearly 3 years of turmoil with one crisis after another (COVID-19, global supply chain shortages, staffing shortages, several respiratory virus outbreaks – some of which occurred outside of the typical cold/flu season), our hospital's most important investment will be in our people. We need to think very differently about how we invest in our people, including how we evaluate compensation and benefits as well as providing professional development opportunities and initiatives focusing on work-life integration and professional burn-out. Why? Our people are the most important resource that we have.

CHRO / Human Resources

Jim Dunn. Executive Vice President, Enterprise Chief People and Culture Officer at Atrium Health (Charlotte, N.C.): In today's environment, healthcare organizations often have both a need and a desire to grow in order to best serve communities and provide greater access to care. If not done well, such growth can put an unintended distance between leaders and the workforce serving on the front line.

As we begin integrating our 150,000 team members at Advocate Health – formed from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health – staying connected to our teams becomes all the more critical. It is incumbent upon us as leaders to make sure we double our efforts to stay closely in touch with what's important to those caring for our patients to make sure they continue to be engaged and our organization thrives.

Aaron Gillingham. Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, UnityPoint Health (West Des Moines, Iowa): At UnityPoint Health, we're focused on investing in programs and strategies that enhance the everyday experiences of our team members, so we can provide opportunities for both personal and professional growth. Over the past year, we worked toward standardizing system-level programs and processes, revamped our onboarding program, launched a more intuitive recruitment platform, delivered wellbeing and mental health resources and much more.

In 2023 and beyond, we'll continue to move HR toward systemness while focusing on experience as our differentiator. In addition, we will continue our journey of creating an individualized approach to total rewards and development that's scalable to team members and leaders across the system. For us, this represents a long-term commitment in our people, so they can do what they do best: deliver high-quality, expert health care to the communities we serve.

Christy Bray Ricks. Vice President of Provider Talent at Ardent Health Services (Nashville, Tenn.): Investments to retain and develop our employees through professional development offerings and internal growth opportunities for career advancement; investments to support our employees in workplace flexibility and benefit offerings; and investments to ensure smooth onboarding of new employees.

Tania White. Contract Chief Human Resources Officer at PCC Community Wellness Center: My organization, PCC Community Wellness Center will invest in creating a Leadership Academy for our current and emerging leaders in the next 12 months. An organization's success is partly dependent upon the leadership that sets the culture within that organization. As we continue to focus on patient care and growth it's important that our leaders understand the fundamentals of leadership excellence and create a culture where our leaders can flourish, develop our staff and enhance our productivity.


Brian Uridge. Deputy Director and Michigan Medicine Security Director at the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety & Security Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor): Over the next 12 months, Michigan Medicine will launch two new Public Safety K-9s. The K-9 program at Michigan Medicine is part of an overall security strategy to ensure people are safe and, just as importantly, feel safe. Our community engagement security philosophy treats each hospital as a community, with every floor a unique neighborhood. The K-9s are trained in pet therapy and explosives detection and are pivotal to our three-pronged security approach: Trust, Training and Technology.

Mark Welton, MD. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at M Health Fairview (Minneapolis): Our top investment goes into our staff: nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, CRNAs, nursing aids, pharmacy techs, radiology techs, anesthesia techs, scrubs techs, environmental services, laboratory personnel, transportation personnel, and more. Without the services provided by these critical team members, we will not be able to meet the health needs of our communities.

Natalie Callis, DNP, RN-BC. Senior Director of Nursing Professional Development Strategy and Implementation at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): The most important investment will be the concerted focus on recruitment, retention and professional development of our staff nurses for the health system.

Ann Duffy. Chief Financial Officer at Cottage Hospital (Woodsville, N.H.): Cottage is investing in a new EHR, Oracle Cerner, scheduled to go live in May 2023. The new EHR is expected to improve revenue cycle performance, and increase efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction.

Bill Manzie. Administrative Director of Telehealth at Memorial Healthcare System (Hollywood, Fla.): There is little doubt that the pandemic has sped up the digitization of the healthcare sector. Over the next five years, 80 percent of healthcare providers intend to increase their investment in technology and digital solutions, according to the HIMSS Future of Healthcare Report. With companies utilizing artificial intelligence, cloud computing, extender reality, and the internet of things, we will continue to see growth in industries like telehealth, customized digital medicine, genomics, and wearables.

Joy Killham. Revenue Cycle Director Clinics at McPherson (Kan.) Medical and Surgical: The most important investment that our facility hopes to make over the next 12 months is a new and/or upgraded EMR system. Accurate demographics and documentation are imperative to patient care as well as financial stability. Without good communication or documentation, you may be jeopardizing your reimbursement. Clean claims are also imperative not only to financial integrity, including compliance but to ensuring patient satisfaction. You are not operating optimally without a good EMR and financial trackability.

Matthew Painter, PhD. Director, Leadership Development at UAB Health System and School of Medicine (Birmingham): The need to proactively and consistently invest in leadership skills is paramount to success. Therefore we are continuing and augmenting our leadership development efforts for 2023. This includes program enhancements, new programs, and strengthening our stakeholder engagement strategy. These investments promote the success of our enterprise through talent mobility and adaptability, succession planning, culture formation, and performance management.

Jerry Rebo, PharmD. Director, Pharmacy Value and Outcomes at Novant Health (Raleigh, N.C.): Focusing on technology and revenue generation will be strategic priorities for the new year. This includes improving currently utilized technologies as well as assessing innovative technologies that will strengthen the position of our organization to accomplish financial objectives. Leveraging technology to improve existing revenue streams while generating new means of revenue will be paramount. Technology and revenue objectives will be key approaches for 2023.

Clinical Leaders

Athena Minor, RN. Chief Nursing and Clinical Officer at Ohio County Healthcare (Hartford, Ky.): As a rural critical access hospital, it is extremely important that our organization remains in tune with the needs of the community we serve. We are continually making investments that will allow us to meet those needs in the most advanced and efficient way possible. Last year our major investment was to begin building a larger, technologically advanced surgical wing which we will open in April of 2023. We have also completed a new, advanced high-acuity wing to support more critical patients.

Over the past two years, we have invested in inpatient and outpatient services. Over the next 12 months, we will be investing many resources to provide care to our community where they are. One way we will accomplish this is by establishing telehealth services in our schools, especially those located in remote areas. Increased internet infrastructure has only recently made this possible in some geographical locations in our service area, which were internet deserts as recently as a year ago. Because of this increased accessibility, exciting new possibilities are on the horizon.

Remote monitoring and mobile access to care units are additional investments that will be made. It is important to comprehend how and where new technologies allow us to provide care to our communities and utilize these technological advancements in ways that make the most sense. These planned investments are one way we remain relevant to our communities.

Paul Coyne, DNP. Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City): Prior to becoming a clinician, I worked on Wall Street. We were trained to find the most valuable asset that would yield the highest return on investment. The struggle was finding the right asset. In healthcare, this is very simple. The most valuable asset in healthcare is the people who work within it. Therefore, the most important investment we will invest in over the next 12 months is our people. We will invest in all ways possible in the great people who work at HSS. Because the return on our investment, for our organization, and for every patient will yield returns beyond that which can be measured.

Tim Lynch, PharmD, MS, FABC, FASHP, FWSPA. Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer at MultiCare Health System (Tacoma, Wash.): MultiCare, like other healthcare organizations, has experienced tremendous challenges this past year. Our teams worked through over two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing unprecedented volumes, supply chain challenges and stress on our teams that we have never experienced in our careers. Entering 2022, we hoped we would exit the pandemic and return to "normal."

However, we quickly learned that our staff and leaders were exhausted. Despite the end of the pandemic, we faced new financial challenges as a result of heavy reliance on travelers, inflationary pressures, labor shortages and wage increases. This new reality has made 2022 one of the most difficult years for healthcare organizations, leaders and clinicians we may ever see.

To address these challenges, MultiCare is focused on addressing a burnout culture and work-life balance, the key findings from our recent annual culture of safety survey. Over the next 12 months, MultiCare is laser-focused on investing in and empowering our leaders to create a thriving environment where we can retain and re-recruit our incredible team members who have shown up day in and day out throughout the most challenging times in healthcare.

Marva Williams-Lowe, PharmD. Chief Pharmacy Officer and ICCE System Administrative Officer - Pharmacy at MUSC Health (Charleston, S.C.): Pharmacy Technicians play a critical role in supporting pharmacy services and patient care. Technician recruitment and retention requires focus and investment to develop the appropriate technician career ladder and opportunities for growth. This is essential to achieve and maintain optimal medication management systems.

Stephen Hoang, MD. Pediatric Anesthesiologist at Children's Health (Dallas): I am a pediatric anesthesiologist and member of the quality and patient safety team at Children's Health System of Texas, one of the largest pediatric healthcare systems in the country. I believe that the most important investment my organization is making this coming year has to do with employee engagement. Children's is greatly expanding the benefits package for its employees, focusing on family care and planning, physical well-being, and financial well-being. Caring for one's family is the most important thing you'll do with your time, so helping you do that by offering great employee benefits can significantly increase employee engagement. This, in turn, can lead to happier, healthier, and more resilient team members.

For our organization, this could also mean better recruitment and stronger retention. In addition, a highly engaged team can positively affect productivity and safety. Finally, we are building a brand-new pediatric hospital from the ground up. Our engaged team members actively participate in the hospital's functionality and design by contributing their expertise to ensure a positive patient and family experience while delivering safe, high-quality care.

Trishul Kapoor, MD. CSTAR Fellow, Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor): My current focus in organizational investment is on employee wellness and bridged-accelerator programs. Prior to any investment in innovation initiatives, an organization must invest in its staff. Particularly, with recent staffing constraints associated with increasing levels of patient hospitalizations, it is important to ensure staff has supportive resources across a wellness spectrum — emotionally, environmentally, intellectually, financially, socially, etc.

This investment will assure greater workplace productivity and camaraderie. In turn, this will ignite and fuel innovation initiatives that are sparked organically within the organization. In order to support staff-driven innovation initiatives, it is necessary to build a streamlined pipeline based on an industry accelerator program model with a bridge to industry.

Ruchi Garg, MD. National Program Director, Gynecologic Oncology, Comprehensive Care and Research Center at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Boca Raton, Fla.): We're focusing on maximizing the culture to retain talent to continue to provide excellent oncologic care.

Chad M. Teven, MD, MBA, FACS. Plastic Surgeon, Microsurgeon; Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Northwestern Medicine; Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago): In my estimation, a crucial investment our organization will make in the near term will involve hiring and retaining a talented workforce. This includes physician recruitment, nursing staff, ancillary support, and individuals with unique skills relevant to healthcare delivery (e.g., experience with the development and implementation of digital health resources).

Staffing is a big challenge at our and many other healthcare organizations nationwide. Reduced staffing negatively impacts healthcare delivery in several ways, including impairment of operating room and procedural efficiency and capacity, increased wait time for appointments, and greater difficulty in obtaining necessary studies (e.g., MRI) in a timely fashion. Therefore, we must aim to solve these problems, which will involve allocating resources toward workforce acquisition and investment in human capital.

Nariman Heshmati, MD. Medical Director of Advocacy at Everett (Wash.) Clinic: We really have two important investments that are both necessary. The first is our people. We have continued to invest in our front-line teams concerning pay, culture, and well-being. Given the increasing pressures on healthcare systems, we have to continue to find ways to support and invest in our people who work day in and day out to ensure patients receive the care they need. The second is our IT capabilities. The staffing shortages and COVID-19 changes forced us to innovate how we delivered care rapidly. We now know a significant amount of care can be done via telehealth and accessible to patients more conveniently. However, the IT structure to support a shift of this magnitude is enormous and will take continued investment to fully realize.

Marjorie Alexander. Managing Director, Physician Recruiting at ChenMed: The most important investment our organization will make in the next 12 months is developing our employees and continuing to build on our already amazing culture. As our organization continues to grow, it is especially important for the teams that take care of our precious patients to have the support, knowledge and tools they need to ensure we can keep our patients out of the hospital so they can be healthy and happy at home. a

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