I read a lot of reports by people who supposedly are in the know about healthcare trends. Some seem written to impress academics as opposed to providing insights for practitioners and other professionals who do battle in the trenches every day. Despite the need for clarity today, most writing is vague and filled with superfluous words.
So I was pleased recently to receive a white paper written by the Witt/Kieffer executive search firm. The firm is headed by Jordan Hadelman, chairman and CEO, whom I've known for many years. The report is titled "The Impact of Strategic Healthcare Leadership: Top Ten Leadership Trends in Healthcare in the 21st Century," and it's worth reading.
Those who peruse the pages of this magazine regularly will be most interested in the report's predictions regarding physician executives. The authors of the report believe that physician executives will take on increasing leadership roles in healthcare management and care delivery. Already, the report states, CEOs give physician executives A and B grades for effectiveness in working with the governing board, medical staff and the senior management team.
"Furthermore," the report says, "as physician executives advance in their positions, they will achieve many more 'hard skills,' including actually influencing changes in physician behavior in ways that reduce costs and enhance outcomes. Invariably, they will receive credit for their influential success."
The authors also state: "More than ever before, experienced physician executives are highly marketable and in demand. Career advancement, influential decisionmaking and professional satisfaction are inevitable for those top performers who manage clinical and administrative policies effectively." Financially, the future looks promising. Physician executives will earn considerably more in the future, the report predicts.
"As physician executives grow in status in the coming years, they will take their current roles--as advisors, quality care enhancers, wise resource managers and key clinical motivators--and transform them to lead their organizations as strategists or trustees with a commanding knowledge of and experience in care delivery, ethics and operations," the report says.
The white paper includes other important findings, including the prediction that healthcare as an industry will learn its business lesson and will address pressing challenges such as customer-oriented strategic planning; providing financial stability and positive public perceptions through measurable quality outcomes; increasing revenue and cutting expenses; and attracting and keeping talent.
The report takes note of American Hospital Association predictions that by the year 2002 many hospitals and systems will have negative margins, primarily as a result of fallout from the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. However, the authors predict that hospital and system CEOs will come up with both traditional and innovative ways to relieve BBA financial pressure.
This paper provides a roadmap for organizations that want to be positioned to succeed.
The future looks bright,
Charles S. Lauer