Does putting a new person in charge really make a difference? At some healthcare organizations, changing the CEO is little more than window dressing if the organization is a well-run operation staffed by experienced managers who forgot more about healthcare administration than the new CEO knows. But at other organizations, changing the CEO can mean everything, including determining whether patients live or die.
Welcome to our fifth annual 100 Top Hospitals supplement. In past editions we examined the complex relationship between hospital performance and such variables as patient-safety strategies, adoption of new medical techniques and technologies, clinical practices and nurse-staffing levels. This year, Modern Healthcare along with Solucient, the Evanston, Ill.-based healthcare information company that produces the 100 Top Hospitals rankings, and Cejka Search, a St. Louis healthcare-executive and physician-recruitment firm, took a different tack. We looked at those ultimately responsible and held accountable for the clinical and financial performance of hospitals -- the CEOs.
Solucient and Cejka compared CEOs of top-performing hospitals with those of lesser-performing facilities on such management variables as:
* Did the CEO come from within or from outside the organization?
* What position did the CEO have before becoming the CEO?
* Did the CEO work at a teaching hospital at some point in his or her career?
* What's the CEO's educational background?
* How did the CEO assemble his or her senior management team?
Clearly, these are some soft and fuzzy topics that aren't often associated with sophisticated statistical analyses. But as the research by Solucient and Cejka shows, such soft and fuzzy variables can have as great if not greater effect on patient outcomes and financial results than more traditional variables associated with hospital performance.
The companies released their research exclusively to Modern Healthcare, and it forms the core of this supplement. Also included is Solucient's 12th annual 100 Top Hospitals: Benchmarks of Success list, on p. 14. It originally appeared in our Feb. 28 issue.
Linda Wilson, a former Modern Healthcare reporter and now a freelance writer based in McHenry, Ill., wrote the main story and all the sidebars based on the research. We thank her as always for a job well done. You can contact Wilson at lindajwilson @comcast.net.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at 312-649-5439, or at dburda @crain.com. Thank you.