How Hospital Leaders Can Evolve Strategies in the Short and Long Terms

At the Becker's Hospital Review Annual Meeting, Suzy Welch — author, television commentator and business journalist — led a panel discussion on how hospitals and health systems plan their business strategies for 10 months and 10 years in the future.

Cathy Jacobson, president of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, said her organization utilizes several different resources, people and consultants to construct a finely tuned strategy, but a hospital or health system must know what the end goal looks like. "Our overall strategy is be the region's premier health system," Ms. Jacobson said. "But what distinguishes you is the way you do it. We started to say, this is a nice vision, but what do you look like in five years? How big are you? Have you partnered with other systems?"

Tammie Brailsford, RN, COO of MemorialCare Health System in Fountain Valley, Calif., agreed with Ms. Jacobson and emphasized that a hospital's employees need to be aware of and fully engaged with the outlined strategy along the way. In addition, she said her organization has five "key indicators" that they monitor religiously: EBIDA, days of cash on hand, operating margin, value-based purchasing measures and employee engagement data. "We make a conscious effort to balance those indicators," Ms. Brailsford said.

When Ms. Welch asked the panelists about crisis management and how that fits into a health system's strategy, Amber McGraw Walsh, JD, partner at McGuireWoods, said management must have specific people and teams in place to deal with crises. Having the confidence to delegate certain people to potential crises can keep a hospital on track with its missions and goals. "Having specific teams that deal with a crisis frees up the rest of your organization to think outside of the crisis," Ms. Walsh said.

More Articles on the Becker's Hospital Review Annual Meeting:

What Are the Best Ideas for Health Systems Today? 4 Hospital Executives Respond

Resource Optimization Guarantees Savings and Revenues in Hospital Operations

Strategic Thoughts for Independent Hospital Consolidations

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