When asked what keeps him going after more than 50 years in the field of healthcare management education, John Griffith will tell you, “Opportunity inspires me. I like to see students get better. I like to see hospitals succeed. I like to see problems get solved.”
As the man who literally wrote the book on the topic, Griffith is recognized for his quantitative approach in helping healthcare organizations, and their future leaders, to institute the best practices that lead to higher performance and cultures of empowerment.
Griffith's widely used textbook, The Well-Managed Healthcare Organization, outlines a leadership culture that promotes teamwork and emphasizes the need for continuous improvement in the hospital setting. Originally published in 1987, the book is now in its seventh edition, and many still consider it to be the most comprehensive resource in the field. It's also a past winner of the James A. Hamilton Award for book of the year from the American College of Healthcare Executives.
For Griffith, though, a publication called Quantitative Techniques for Hospital Planning and Control (published in 1972) is the one he's most proud of. It focuses on medical quality, measuring market share and forecasting demand, which he says were relatively unexplored territories at the time. Though most of the ideas in that particular work are now out of date, Griffith said, he believes the book helped to give structure to the current approach to healthcare management. “It started the process and got a lot of people thinking,” he said. “We were more ready than we would have been without that work.”