Joe Fifer

“Hire curious people.”


That’s the advice I heard from a member at HFMA’s recent Thought Leadership Retreat. This idea struck a chord with me. After all, as we work through this period of transformational change, what would serve healthcare finance professionals better than curiosity? We could all benefit from taking a step back from the demands of our day-to-day jobs and taking time to visualize what the future might hold for our industry.  

Imagine a healthcare delivery system organized around maintaining health, not treating illness: What would it look like? What might our organization’s role be? Think about a payment system based completely on value. How would our approach to healthcare finance change in such a system? How would a value-based system change our roles as healthcare finance professionals and the skills and expertise we need to succeed? 

The value transformation will require us to conceive of and execute new business models or adopt those that are beyond our experience, either of which are bound to take us outside our comfort level. If we can regard our evolving healthcare delivery system with a healthy curiosity, that view will go a long way toward overcoming apprehension about an uncertain future and resistance to change. Curiosity will motivate us to spend the extra hour thinking about how our actions now can shape the future for our organizations and for our industry. It will help ensure that we do what it takes to remain valuable contributors to our organization—and guide us in choosing team members who will do the same.  

In HFMA’s Value Project, we shine a spotlight on many organizations that exemplify curiosity at its best—organizations that are experimenting, collaborating, and innovating their way to success in a value-based world. HFMA’s latest Value Project report, The Value Journey: Organizational Road Maps for Value-Driven Health Care, provides insights into the value journeys that other hospitals and health systems of all shapes and sizes are experiencing—insights that will stoke the fires within those of you who thrive on new ideas and possibilities.  

In talking with the providers that were interviewed for the report, we discovered many are finding ways to reward their team members’ curiosity and willingness to take risks. For example, Billings Clinic in Montana has established a “no-layoff” policy that encourages front-line staff to participate in performance improvement projects without worrying about performing themselves out of their jobs. Another healthcare system is testing the waters of value-based contracting by experimenting with selected hospital and physician groups within the relative safety of its own multihospital system. 

Are you curious to know more? Start by reading the report. And next time you’re worrying about your professional future—or the future of health care—be inspired by the words of the author and poet James Stephens: “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” 

Publication Date: Tuesday, January 01, 2013

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