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My top takeaways from Becker’s Hospital Review 9th Annual Meeting

By Steve Jackson, President, NRC Health

  1. “Adapt or die!”—Marc Harrison, Intermountain Healthcare
    The nation’s hospitals are facing a once-in-a-lifetime transformation. The trend came to a head the week of December 4, with the announcement of several high-profile mergers and acquisitions: CVS/Aetna, DaVita’s Medical Group / UnitedHealth, and the leaked Ascension and Providence merger talks. These seismic shifts underscore a prevailing theme of uncertainty, and an escalating battle for the healthcare consumer.


  1. “If you are thinking you are moving fast enough, you need to move faster.”—Stephen Klasko, Jefferson Health
    Consumers will not wait patiently on the sidelines for health systems to “figure it out.”  They’ll find ways to work around the traditional delivery system as they seek out better care, provided at a lower cost, with greater ease.


  1. “Our siloes make it look like a game of shooting ducks.”—Elliott Joseph, Hartford Healthcare
    Competition will take aim at your weaknesses. While healthcare organizations have built siloes that fragment patient experiences into discrete episodes, Amazon, Apple, and others create single, unified relationships with their customers.


  1. “Choice of words matters.”—Warner Thomas, Ochsner Health System
    Leaders need to use words that fit their initiatives. It’s a matter of emphasis. We have the choice to talk to our staff about “reducing costs” or “making cuts” or, instead, to get behind a narrative of making healthcare more affordable for all Americans.


  1. “We don’t understand all the sources of burnout, but arduous regulation doesn’t make things better.”—Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo Health
    Dr. Noseworthy spoke of Mayo’s investments in reducing caregiver burnout, which is reported to be as high as 50% nationally. Mayo’s resiliency efforts have lowered the rate to 30%, but Dr. Noseworthy admitted to the audience that their efforts must go further. He referred to a recent conversation with the White House in which he discussed the need to eliminate redundant and unnecessary metrics. We’re doing our part at NRC Health by putting CAHPS in perspective as a useful starting point, not as the end destination.


  1. “We need to look past the disease—this is about the whole person.”—Penny Wheeler, Allina Health System
    Alina’s Penny Wheeler describes their “whole person” focus as “an approach that recognizes that all factors impacting health are connected: mind, body, spirit, and community.” NRC Health’s mission of Human Understanding could not be better aligned with this focus. Check out Alina’s “whole person” approach here.


  1. “The source of greatest pride is always Always our people.”—Laura Kaiser, SSM Health
    Healthcare has always been, and always will be, deeply human. While we push towards greater automation, we must remember that caregivers, patients, and families are who we serve. The greatest stories come from moments of connection with these people.


  1. “Do you wake up with a headache, or see the day as an opportunity to contribute to healthcare’s narrative?”—Bernard Tyson, Kaiser Permanente
    Change is hard, but the rewards are so much greater. With our associates at NRC Health, we are proud to work relentlessly to design a better future.


  1. “Life and business are not zero-sum games.”—Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States
    As a nation, we need to work harder to find middle ground. Subtraction and division pull us apart. We should instead use multiplication and addition, and find abundance.


  1. “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”—Chris Waugh, Sutter Health
    Pure innovation—creating from scratch—is not always the most efficient practice. Amazing customer-centric advances are happening all around us, literally changing the way we live our lives. It’s incumbent on us to take what’s working outside our walls and apply it to the way we deliver service to our customers. If something’s being done well, we should do more of it.

On behalf of NRC Health, a tremendous thanks to the hospitals and health systems that serve our communities. –Steve