Are Patients Truly Your Core Focus?

By Dan Nielsen
dan@americashealthcareleaders.com

JHC-March16-iStock_000067513835_LargeJohn Self, founder and CEO of JohnGSelf Partners, Inc., has served hundreds of healthcare clients all across America for years. Self and his partners provide executive-level and leadership acquisition solutions exclusively to the healthcare industry. Suffice it to say that Self has great depth and breadth of knowledge, experience, and perspective within the healthcare industry.

In response to one of my questions during a recent videotaped interview, Self offered the following advice for healthcare leaders:

Sincerely care about the patient. You have to care about the patients. Not because they’re revenue, but because when we go into healthcare, it’s to take care of people. Getting a job running a hospital or health network or health system is not a right, it’s a privilege. If you’re going to be a leader in healthcare, you have to take on that accountability and that burden, that ownership, that privilege—to be sure the patient stays at the center of everything that you do.”

Virtually every leader, regardless of position or level with a healthcare organization, would agree with this statement. As a former hospital CEO and as a senior leader and speaker with over 40 years of experience in the healthcare industry, I can see the heads nodding all across America as leaders read Self’s statement.

However, day-to-day time allocation, focus, and behavior many times tells a different reality-based story. Whether unintentional or intentional, the facts are that many healthcare leaders spend significant amounts of time, energy, and focus on issues and priorities that have little impact regarding what is truly best for patients or even community health.

This is not necessarily criticism. Having “been there and done that” I keenly understand the constant, significant, relentless pressure and expectations from multiple constituencies and centers of influence that must be recognized and addressed if a healthcare leader is to survive, much less thrive.

And yet, in spite of the many-times conflicting pressures, demands, and expectations, John Self is correct. If we as healthcare leaders are to truly excel, truly make a significant difference in the individual and collective lives of those we serve, and reach our personal, professional, and organizational potential, we “have to take on that accountability and that burden, that ownership, that privilege—to be sure the patient stays at the center of everything that [we] do.”

I encourage you to examine not only your intent, but the reality of your time allocation, daily priorities, and behavior. Is the patient truly at the center of everything you do?

Copyright © 2016 by Dan Nielsen – www.americashealthcareleaders.com