December 10, 2018 – This is the time of year that most people start thinking about what to give and do for others during the holidays. For business leaders, it is the season of year-end financials, annual evaluations and budget approvals, holiday parties and winter break. It is also a time to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and prepare for the year ahead.
“2018 will be remembered as a dynamic time in the healthcare industry, in my opinion,” said Joseph Fournier, managing partner and chief people officer for healthcare search and advisory specialists InveniasPartners. “The year has been filled with new market entrants, financial pressures and nonstop change that shows no signs of slowing in 2019.”
In recent days, two technology related moves were revealed that will shape and impact the healthcare field for years to come, noted Mr. Fournier. Amazon, in its latest move as a major player in the field, announced that it is marketing software that will allow doctors and hospitals to harvest patient medical records to enhance treatment and pare down costs.
Meanwhile, Aetna, a CVS Health business, and Ascension announced that they are joining Synaptic, a consortium that will apply blockchain technology to improve data quality and reduce administrative costs associated with changes to healthcare provider demographic data.
“New market entrants and collaborations have become the norm in healthcare,” said Mr. Fournier. “Every day, against a backdrop of highly competitive and fluctuating local, regional and national markets, leaders must consider how their organizations can deliver consistently safer, compassionate and more affordable care to their patients, families and communities.”
Mr. Fournier is a nationally recognized healthcare leader with significant expertise in operating large and complex organizations. He has deep experience leading transformation, developing leaders and guiding workforce planning. Most recently, he served as senior vice president and chief people officer of Intermountain Healthcare. Before that, he held executive leadership positions at the University of Michigan Health System and UMass Memorial Health Care, respectively.
Based in Chicago, InveniasPartners also has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City and St. Louis. The firm’s clients include BJC HealthCare, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Iowa Health Care, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Inova and the University of Chicago Medical Center, among others.
Mr. Fournier said that three consistent themes have emerged across the healthcare industry:
1. The Continued Rise of Shared Services – Integration involves seamless coordination of service, or in healthcare, bringing together care across all services including preventative, community, outpatient, acute and post-acute environments.
2. Addressing Failing Businesses – Turnarounds are on the rise again. Driven executives are tackling tough issues and operational challenges – acting as turnaround managers who take drastic and immediate action to achieve success.
3. A Culture of Transformation – Transformation is perhaps the most difficult because it requires a dramatic change from one state of being to another over years, not months. Not a “one and done” exercise, it is highly strategic, deliberative process fraught with people matters as beliefs, behaviors and feelings are tested.
“In some cases, our clients are taking one or more of these actions simultaneously and doing so under severe financial and/or time pressure,” said Mr. Fournier. “For some organizations, the changing marketplace will threaten their very existence and require drastic change for survival.”
Industry Evolution Creating Opportunities in Healthcare Executive Hiring
The healthcare marketplace today looks vastly different than it did just a few short years ago, as the industry shifts toward the outpatient/retail delivery model at a rapid pace. Because of this shift, in 2018, we are seeing hospital mergers and acquisitions continue at unpreceded levels.
Often, these actions are lumped together under the umbrella of strategic change that is driven by the organization’s board and their own reflection on mission and market conditions. “We find that when organizations recruit new executive talent, they highlight a consistent theme — the need for transformative leaders,” said Mr. Fournier. “They are seeking leaders ready to transform the way the enterprise operates in order to provide safer, consistent, and more affordable care and services to patients and customers.”
“CEOs always describe an ideal leader as the person who has significant expertise in their discipline and who is innovative, decisive, and action oriented,” he said. “Now, they also mention the need for someone who operates with compassion, empathy and a collaborative spirit — a leader who will transform the organization.”
When it comes to developing a talent strategy, it is critical to pinpoint the type of work the new leader will be asked to do, said Mr. Fournier. Beyond the work, it is equally important to carefully consider how the work fits in the context of an organization’s culture.
“When selecting a new leader, consider whether there are deeply held traditions, beliefs and practices that will either challenge or support the leader as she starts the work,” said Mr. Fournier. “With little room for error, selecting the right leader for the position is the same as selecting the right tool for a repair project.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media