This change is good
Next year the list will recognize healthcare’s ‘most influential’
One of the many catchphrases we use—and can print in this space—in our Chicago newsroom to help us cope with the ever-changing world of healthcare and journalism is: “Change is bad.” What makes the phrase work for us is the irony because the reality is quite the opposite. Much like the industry we cover, we’re coming up with new ways to deliver news and information to our readers. Our talented, hard-working and creative staff of 25 editors and reporters adapts to changes in our readers’ news and information needs without losing sight of the basic tenets of great journalism or the passion for producing the industry’s bestread weekly print business news magazine. For example, by the time we close the final pages of our last weekly issue of 2010, we’ll also have produced well over 100 videos, webcasts, podcasts and electronic show dailies for our readers.
Embracing that spirit of change, it’s time to make some alterations to one of our most successful awards and honors programs: the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare.
A little history first. The idea for the program came to me on a drive back from Kohler, Wis., in March 2002 after I attended a meeting of several hundred of the industry’s most powerful healthcare executives. My first thought was that the control over the entire healthcare industry was disproportionately held by a relatively small number of people. That wasn’t a good thing for patients. My second thought was what if the building where the meeting being held collapsed and everyone died (except one journalist there to cover the story). Who would run the healthcare industry then? Thus, the idea was born to identify who our readers felt belonged on the list of 100 people who controlled their fates.
In 2002, the first year of the program, readers cast 21,174 votes for who they believed were the industry’s biggest movers and shakers. This year, the ninth year of the program, readers cast more than 800,000 votes. By the time you’re reading this, you probably know who was voted No. 1 this year and the names of the other 99 people on the 2010 ranking.
Prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, “powerful” was the most appropriate word to describe people who were pushing down walls trying to reform healthcare and those who were staunchly holding their ground to maintain the status quo. But the passage of national healthcare reform makes both fundamental changes in the delivery system and in how things get done under that system. Rather than knocking down walls, people are working together to sand and paint them, though they may argue about the color. We think a better word to describe these people is “influential.” Consequently, starting in 2011, the program will be renamed the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.
We’re also changing the way the program works. This year, as in the past, readers nominated people for the recognition. The 300 people who received the most nominations made a final ballot. Readers voted for 10 people on the ballot. The 100 people who received the most votes made the list barring any voting irregularities. Readers were all powerful.
Starting next year, readers will be influential. They will nominate people for the recognition. The 300 people who received the most nominations will make the final ballot. Readers will vote for five people on the ballot. And readers’ votes will count for only 50% of the outcome. The other 50% will come from the expert opinions of the senior editors at Modern Healthcare. Kind of like deciding who makes the allstar team in baseball. The combination of reader opinions and editor knowledge and experience will result in a more accurate picture of who is influencing the direction of healthcare in the post-reform era.