Our Blue Chips

Our personal and professional lives are full of things we need to do just to get by, such as doing laundry or completing activity reports.  And then there are the things that are really critical to our success and well-being – building a relationship with a spouse/partner, mastering a professional skill.  While we often spend most of our time on those routine things, there’s a much bigger payoff from focusing on the important stuff.  In our culture enhancement work, we talk about these as our “Blue Chip”.  Granted, we do need to pick up a certain number of lower value white chips, but we need to make sure that with limited time and energy, we pay sufficient attention to the high value blue chips.

The CHW executive team recently spent part of a day sharing our blue chips for 2013.  I used two criteria to define a blue chip.  First, it’s something that is critical to the organization; by providing the foundation for future success, it’s a form of investment of time and effort.  Second, it’s something that requires some type of attention or intervention from me.  We all need to learn how to say no, but the blue chips are those things that we cannot say no to.

I have three blue chips for this year:

                1)  CSG Structure.  As we have discussed at the CSG Board and in various other meetings (and which I will discuss more about in coming posts), the healthcare environment is changing in ways that make it difficult for us to participate effectively given our current structure.  To be able to provide care while taking financial risk, we will need to have better financial integration, data sharing, and alignment of incentives with the hospital.  At the same time, we need to continue doing what we do best – providing outstanding patient care, innovative research, and training the next generation of providers.  It is absolutely essential that we figure out, very soon, how to structure ourselves to best meet these business, clinical, and academic needs if we hope to thrive in the evolving healthcare world.

                2)  Growth.  Our business has been relatively flat for several years, as a result of many factors, but with some areas of growth.  Why grow?  First, with increased competition from both pediatric and other health systems, non-growth is really decline.  Second, the emerging models of healthcare delivery and payment depend not only on better integration (see above), but bigger scale.  If we are to continue to grow, we need to focus on those areas of opportunity – our service lines and regional operations – more aggressively.

                3)  Ambulatory optimization.  Our outpatient clinics are one of the areas that has been growing.  We know our quality is great, but we’re increasingly being questioned about value.  To improve and demonstrate our value, we will need to capitalize on our investment in Epic, honing in on making our ambulatory operation more efficient.

Each of these is critical to positioning us for future success.  Yet all are large, complex tactics requiring attention and sponsorship at the highest levels.  Hence, my blue chips.

What are your blue chips for this year?

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