Healthcare Leaders: Be Molders−Not Seekers

I’ve been struck and convicted by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

As a nation, we seem unable to find middle ground based on shared values, goals, and a broad agreement on the important issues and overall direction for healthcare policy. Yet in the face of national disasters like the recent unprecedented series of hurricanes striking the nation, we see leaders emerge, resources marshalled, swift action taken, and broad-based support surround those impacted. We hear stories of Americans adding value and making a difference in big and small ways. So how can we learn from such events and apply the lessons to health care? What kind of difference can we make within our sphere of influence?

Over the past several years, our industry has seeded innovation and experimented with many types of value-based and alternative payment models. The investment in time and infrastructure has been significant. Results, however, have been mixed at best—the ROI minimal from a national perceptive. Even so, we’ve learned valuable lessons and built new competencies. Scarcity of resources has blurred the lines and made collaborative relationships the cornerstone. At the same time, we’ve seen local and regional innovation prove successful.

The secret to this success lies in the saying, “All health care is local.” We know our communities—the strengths and the barriers. We are driven by our missions, accountable to achieving results in our patients’ lives. Grounded and determined to be relevant, we solve specific, identified problems. It’s tough work, but amazingly rewarding.

At Bryan Health, we were mandated into bundles with 67 metropolitan statistical areas across the country. We had an existing relationship and experience with a group of private practice orthopedists, with whom we had previously addressed length of stay and total joint replacement costs. This time, our shared vision was built on care outside the walls of the hospital. The data trends and gap analysis led us to focus on patient education and setting expectations in advance of hospitalization. This effort included assessing whether post-acute care was needed. We focused on what was necessary, not what was convenient. As a result, patients were more confident in their care plans and returned home sooner, and their overall cost of care was reduced. Collaboration again proved successful.

No doubt, you’ve had similar experiences. As healthcare leaders, we can mold consensus and broker change to create enhanced value. Like the volunteers who’ve stepped forward in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, we are equipped to merge our passion for our patients and communities with our purpose to lead healthcare finance and make a difference. Let’s be molders and spread the impact to many.