Column | Financial Leadership

HFMA's 'Secret Sauce'

Column | Financial Leadership

HFMA's 'Secret Sauce'

The ability to deliver value that meets the critical current and future needs of healthcare stakeholders, whether they be patients or healthcare finance professionals, requires at some point a step forward with faith.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

—Martin Luther King Jr.


Recently, my attention was drawn to these words from Martin Luther King, Jr. Have you ever been reluctant to start something or walk into the unknown? Maybe you wanted a bit more certainty, less risk, or a promise of what to expect. The great civil rights leader challenges us to take the first step with faith, and the rest of the staircase will be there, leading us in the right direction, if we will trust and keep taking step after step—each step being the process that leads to the next process in the staircase forward.

When a leader at Bryan Health used this quote as metaphor for our organization’s Epic journey, it caused me to stop and consider. For Bryan Health, the adoption of a systemwide electronic health record will unify the story of our patients, fundamentally redesign our patient experience, and significantly alter workflows for our physicians and teams. Regardless of our trust in the plan, execution success to date, and confidence in our team, at some point it’s a step of faith forward into the unknown.

And to that point, so much of what is asked of healthcare leaders today is mental flexibility—remaining calm under pressure and not being tied to one approach or solution, and thus being able problem solvers. When presented with challenges or experiences, we draw upon those qualities and process the situation at hand by relating and comparing it with other experiences and challenges.

This same challenge holds true with HFMA. For our Association, the deployment of Enterprise Solutions, the adoption of an event management system across all chapters and regions in 2018, and the future advent of Polaris in 2019 will reframe the story for our members, transform our digital member experience, and change the way our teams do their work. There is simply no way to completely anticipate every possible situation as budgets—time as well as finances—are squeezed, as more competition enters the market, and as society continues to adapt to different models of how we do everything. But we must step forward boldly.

Our patients and members alike don’t make their decisions in a vacuum; what they do is affected by their environments, finances, lifestyles, and networks. Technology and digital innovation enable us to understand and anticipate the needs of our patients and members. By leveraging multiple data sources to form insights about the present and future needs of individuals as well as populations, we create value.

Knowing our patients and members is the “secret sauce.” With that information in hand, we stand ready to step into the unknown with faith and confidence that we will succeed and thrive with what is to come.

About the Author

Carol A. Friesen, FHFMA, MPH,

is HFMA's 2017-18 National Chair. 

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