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2015 ACHE Congress: Healthcare industry needs strong, diverse leadership

March 19th, 2015

by Leslie Small

The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) kicked off its 2015 Congress in Chicago with a celebration of diverse healthcare leaders, a call for more progress in improving patient care and an update on the political climate in the nation's capital.

ACHE's new chairman, Richard Cordova (pictured right), who also serves as the CEO of Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, set the tone by sharing an optimistic outlook for an industry that often feels the heat of public criticism.

"Over the past few years, it seems like we have been focusing on what is wrong with the system of care in our country," he said. "Yes, we absolutely know we have to improve, and I'm convinced ... that you know what we have to do. But let's celebrate the progress that we've made. Society sees our missteps, but they also see the miracles that we perform day in and day out."

>> Read the full story at FierceHealthcare

ACHE 2015: Value-based care models heighten need for science-based measures

March 19th, 2015

by Leslie Small

In today's rapidly changing industry, the healthcare quality movement's main challenge is to "reduce the noise and increase the signal strength" of measures used to assess hospitals and healthcare systems, National Quality Forum (NQF) CEO and President Christine Cassel, M.D., (pictured right) said during a luncheon Monday at the 2015 Congress of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

The NQF was founded in 1999 following a congressional committee and engages more than 400 member organizations in its primary mission to endorse the best healthcare quality measures.

The NQF has also seen the healthcare industry go from having too few quality measures to having too many, Cassel said. Given this fact as well as the recently accelerated shift to value-based payment models, "it is even more important that we get the measures right," she added.

>> Read the full story on FierceHealthcare

How nurses can use the past to transform their future

March 18th, 2015

by Ilene MacDonald

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Those words, by philosopher George Santayana, can apply to many aspects of healthcare, but a new book shows just how much they relate to the future of nursing.

Despite dramatic scientific and technological advances since the nursing profession began in the 19th century, nurses today confront many of the same challenges as those who pioneered the profession, including excessive patient loads, staffing shortages, long shifts and workplace bullying.

I recently spoke with Leslie Neal-Boylan, a Ph.D. and registered rehab nurse, (pictured left) associate dean and professor at Quinnipiac University School of Nursing in Hamden, Connecticut, during an exclusive interview about her book, "The Nurse's Reality Shift: Using history to transform the future." It aims to provide nurses with practical solutions to common problems and a roadmap to move forward.

>> Read the full commentary at FierceHealthcare

ACHE 2015: 4 habits of highly effective healthcare leaders

March 18th, 2015

by Leslie Small

Confronting the myriad challenges of running a healthcare organization requires creative thinking and talented leaders--three of whom shared their insights at the American College of Healthcare Executives' (ACHE) 2015 Congress.

Mary Starmann-Harrison (pictured left), CEO of Hospital Sisters Health System in Wisconsin and Illinois, Nancy Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and Richard Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association, all of whom spoke to ACHE members in Chicago this week, each manage very different organizations but all share characteristics that have helped them become exceptional leaders.

Here's some of the advice these leaders shared with ACHE attendees:

Seek out challenges. Speaking at the Women Healthcare Executives Breakfast, Schlichting (pictured right) said she relishes difficult projects like engineering hospital turnarounds or trying to grow a health system in an economically struggling area. "When you're in Detroit, you have to lead with a lot of heart," she said. "It is not an easy place to be, but there is no place that's probably more rewarding." Through Schlichting's leadership, Henry Ford was able to grow even amid Detroit's shrinking population, and her health system has been a driver of social and economic revitalization in the region through community partnerships and initiatives like the "Live Midtown" program that provides incentives for Henry Ford employees to live in downtown Detroit. "It's important to champion the communities we serve," Schlichting said.

Embrace a broad scope of experiences. For healthcare leaders, "the more experience you can have on the physician side and the health plan side, the better positioned you will be for the future," Starmann-Harrison said during the lecture she and Umbdenstock conducted on the topic of executive leadership. Umbdenstock (pictured left) agreed, noting that he gained invaluable healthcare leadership experience during the time in his career when he was self-employed and when he worked for an HMO. Effective leaders also are able to turn what some may view as a negative situation into a positive learning experience, Starmann-Harrison said, adding, "Probably some of my best experience was when I was a mergee [in a health system acquisition] and thought the world was ending, and decided to embrace that opportunity."

>> Read the full story at FierceHealthcare

Why healthcare leaders should ask for feedback

March 11th, 2015

by Scott Kashman

My kids help me stay humble and make me realize how simple life lessons could stay with you a lifetime.

One of the lessons includes feedback. Very few people accept feedback; fewer intentionally make changes once they receive the feedback (that includes not getting defensive); and very few actually solicit feedback.

Fortunately, I have learned to solicit feedback on a daily basis. You know what I find? People provide feedback because they were thinking it anyway. Once people see your openness to it, trust build and sustainable changes happen.

So, let me share some feedback with you, as receiving feedback includes transparency.

=> Read more!

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