Ex­per­tise, pas­sion are badges of honor

Modern Healthcare - - 2014 HEALTH CARE HALL OF FAME -

The skills pi­o­neered by this year’s in­ductees into Mod­ern Health­care’s Health Care Hall of Fame set the stage for what have be­come rou­tine prac­tices in con­tem­po­rary health­care man­age­ment.

Bring­ing sci­en­tific mea­sure­ment and col­lab­o­ra­tive re­la­tion­ships to health­care first re­quired some­one to ar­tic­u­late the the­ory. That some­one was John Grif­fith, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of health­care man­age­ment and pol­icy at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan at Ann Ar­bor. He was an early pioneer in de­vel­op­ing tech­niques for mea­sur­ing qual­ity and mar­ket share and fore­cast­ing de­mand in the hospi­tal sec­tor. His clas­sic Quan­ti­ta­tive Tech­niques for Hospi­tal Plan­ning and Con­trol, pub­lished in 1972, laid the ground­work for sub­se­quent de­vel­op­ments in those dis­ci­plines.

His most widely used text­book, how­ever, is The Well-Man­aged Health­care Or­ga­ni­za­tion, now in its sev­enth print­ing. It em­pha­sizes the need for hospi­tal lead­ers to pro­mote team­work and con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment. These strate­gies are as much in use to­day as when he first wrote about them in 1987.

Those skills were cer­tainly needed in the 1990s when Fred Brown, the for­mer pres­i­dent and CEO of BJC Health­Care in St. Louis, was play­ing the cen­tral role in knit­ting to­gether what would be­come a 13-hospi­tal sys­tem with 200 care sites across Mis­souri and Illi­nois. It was one of the first megamerg­ers in the not-for­profit health­care sec­tor, set­ting a pat­tern for the dozens of merg­ers that fol­lowed over the en­su­ing decades.

It wasn’t in­te­gra­tion for in­te­gra­tion’s sake. Brown pre­sciently saw that in­sur­ers’ rapidly spread­ing man­aged-care pro­grams re­quired sys­tems to in­te­grate their care-de­liv­ery op­er­a­tions from the physi­cian’s of­fice to the post-acute-care set­tings. Af­ter get­ting his Chris­tian Health Ser­vices to merge with Barnes and Jewish hos­pi­tals, he pushed the com­bined sys­tem to of­fer what we now call ac­count­able care—long be­fore that term came into wide­spread use.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion was also the hall­mark of the long ca­reer of Yoshi Honkawa, who served as vice pres­i­dent of govern­ment and in­dus­try re­la­tions for Cedars-Si­nai Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Los Angeles from 1978 to 2001. From his ear­li­est days in govern­ment re­la­tions, he demon­strated the rare abil­ity to serve or coun­sel politi­cians from both po­lit­i­cal par­ties. He played a cen­tral role in help­ing to craft pol­icy pro­pos­als that en­sured ad­e­quate fund­ing for re­search and grad­u­ate med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

Honkawa is also a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate of greater di­ver­sity in health­care man­age­ment. His men­tor­ing of young lead­ers through the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Sol Price School of Pub­lic Pol­icy led last year to the school nam­ing a new life­time achieve­ment award af­ter him and mak­ing Honkawa its first re­cip­i­ent.

Team­work, col­lab­o­ra­tion, con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment. Sci­en­tific, pre­dic­tive, for­ward-look­ing. Kind, car­ing, de­cent. They are bench­marks for ev­ery leader who as­pires to great­ness. Those traits ex­em­plify the ca­reers of the three in­di­vid­u­als who make up the 2014 class of the Health Care Hall of Fame.

Mer­rill Goozner


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