Leading Change in Healthcare

Leading Change in Healthcare

A Review: 2017 SHSMD Executive Dialogue

By Lee Ann Lambdin

Between February 21–22, 2017, a group of senior-level strategic executives gathered in Scottsdale, AZ for the SHSMD Executive Dialogue: Leading Change, an interactive seminar with in-depth dialogue about healthcare strategy and marketing. I had the pleasure to attend the meeting and learn from both presenters and other attendees.



The learning objectives for this event were the following:

  • Critically consider major changes in healthcare and explore implications for healthcare strategy professionals.
  • Examine in-depth, significant organizational imperatives and the role strategic leaders play in effective planning, implementation, and execution.
  • Gain new insights into the expertise and approaches that will lead to personal and organizational success through open dialogue with recognized experts, along with peer strategic leaders.

With 3 speakers at this conference, one presentation from a sponsor, and an hour of Q&A and discussion after each speaker, there was a great deal of interaction and dialogue between the attendees. There were forty attendees, creating a true sense of intimacy and openness among those in attendance. In short, it was a very worthwhile meeting.

The following are brief overviews and insights gained from each session.


Leading Change in Health Care Organizations: Dos and Don’ts

Todd D. Jick, Ph.D. Columbia Business School

Dr. Jick is a leading expert in leadership and organizational change. As college professor, he imparted thoughtful insights about the theories of change. He discussed how to lead change in your organization, framing the concept with helpful and easy-to-understand and acronyms and visuals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Resistance to change can be due to a lack of will to change, for some, but for others, it’s due to a lack of skill. As managers, it’s our job to give people the skills to change.
  • Communicating is key during a change process.  People need to know purpose of doing things differently, they need a picture of what life will be like when the goal is achieved.  They need a step by step plan of how to get there and they need to know their part to move forward.  The 4 Ps - Purpose, Picture, Plan, Part.
  • Validating the emotions of your team during times of change: it’s important, as a manager, to not try to convince, manipulate, or subtly coerce your team members into perceiving things differently. It’s critical that you create a time and space for them to vent, without defensiveness or attack on your part.
  • Successful periods of change and transition require focus and attention to all aspects of change management:
    • A Vision for change
    • Skills for change
    • An understanding of the Value in change
    • Resources for change
    • A Plan for change


Leading Change: The Evolution of Strategy at Banner Health

Peter S. Fine, Banner Health CEO

Mr. Fine took over as CEO at Banner Health in 2000. Moving beyond the theories of change presented by the previous speaker, Peter shared his real life experience of implementing significant changes at Banner Health. Even though he was brought on to grow the system, he began by first cutting back in certain areasdivesting out of 7 of 14 states, some hospitals and long-term care facilities. He followed these cutbacks with the creation of a 20-year strategic plan, a rare thing for a healthcare system, which their health system proceeded to follow through with. In the end, they have reached the 20-year goal of becoming a healthcare industry leader.  

Key Takeaways:

  • The most important resource in healthcare are data scientists. They are necessary using data to create a better healthcare product.
  • To succeed in implementing change, you must be a risk taker, but fail fast.
  • Sometimes, changes requires that you reinvent the soul of an organizationmoving from a them mentality to an us mentality.
  • Healthcare is different from a lot of other successful companies in other industries. Healthcare has a heartdealing with people and their diseases.

Additionally, you can’t always apply logic to an illogical businesstraditional business logic doesn’t always work within healthcare.


Don't miss our March Webinar!

Mastering Healthcare Data Overload 

How to Identify and Strategize Growth Decisions with the Right Data

Register Today



Leading Change: Lessons on Consumer-Driven Healthcare

Brad Wensel, Healthgrades

Healthgrades provides consumers with the information they need to make more informed decisions, including information about the provider’s experience, patient satisfaction and hospital quality. This session from Brad focused on the consumer and things the consumer wants and needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Large digital marketplaces like Airbnb, OpenTable, and Uber have set consumer expectations for online healthcare. Consumers are used to making reservations online, book car rides and hotels online with little hassle. Many health systems, though, are still falling short of what consumers want in a digital healthcare life.
  • Consumers already expect online convenience and they will soon expect cost and quality to match.
  • Consumers want to know what other people say and feel. In other words, reviews drive consumer decisions. 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends or family.


Leading Change: Value Based Contracting to Support Population Health

Stephen Rosenthal, Senior Vice President, Montefiore Health System

As part of the leadership team at a health system based in The Bronx, NY, Stephen’s presentation was all about how they are doing population health. Their standard for population health are not yet the norm for many health systems. Their population health initiatives are advanced, truly carrying out population health from cradle to grave for 1 million+ lives.

Key Takeaways:

  • Analytics alone will not be able to identify underlying drivers influence major health issues and conditions. The 4 biggest drivers for ongoing, chronic health issues:
    • Unstable housing
    • Substance abuse
    • Mental health
    • Financial distress
  • Population health is most effective when addressing the root causes and social determinants for illness rather than just the illness itself.


Overall Takeaways

In summary, there were a few overarching takeaways from the whole event, ideas that were a common thread through each presentation and follow-up discussion.

  1. Physicians are still in the “driver’s seat” when it comes to healthcare strategy and development. With several examples presented of instances where physicians were angry over a system’s urgent care strategy, where physicians were opposed to movings towards an online scheduling systems, and where offices were found to be catering to the physician needs over patient needs, this reality seems to be an easily agreed upon truth.
  2. Besides Montefiore Health System, few other systems are a their level of population health strategy and execution due to the nature of reimbursement.
  3. Change is hard.
  4. As a leader of change within your organization, your words matter, so choose them wisely.

For further insights or additional information about the 2017 SHSMD Executive Dialogue, feel free to reach out to me at leeann@stratasan.com.

Article by Lee Ann Lambdin, SVP of Healthcare Strategy for Stratasan

Lee Ann brought a wealth of understanding and experience to this conversation, with 20 years of healthcare experience in planning leadership roles with systems such as Saint Thomas Health, Brim Healthcare, and Covenant Health.

Connect with Stratasan on LinkedIn or follow Stratasan on Twitter and Facebook.



health data healthcare SHSMD leadership change healthcare leadership