The New Type of Healthcare Leader

Healthcare’s new business model can only succeed if its leaders adapt; a Korn Ferry exclusive report.

Even with political efforts to reform US healthcare on hiatus, there are many within the healthcare industry actively working to upend the industry’s business model. The ultimate goal is to make US’s $3 trillion healthcare system better, safer, and cheaper; but hospitals and doctors’ offices nationwide are finding that the leadership skills it took to make the old ways work aren’t necessarily the ones needed to make a new system successful.

Indeed, healthcare leaders are going to have to become considerably more agile for the new business model—called value-based care—to be successful, says Dr. Harry Greenspun, Korn Ferry’s chief medical officer and co-author of a new Korn Ferry report, “The Next Generation of Healthcare Leadership.” “This new breed of healthcare leader has to be willing to explore new or more novel ways of doing things and adapt when the first solution does not work,” he says.

In a values-based care model, healthcare professionals get compensated for keeping patients healthy and satisfied. It’s a marked change from the existing fee-for-service system, in which people get paid by the procedure. Many doctors’ offices are still fee-for-service, but there’s a growing support for the values-based care model, particularly from insurers and the federal government. Indeed, Medicare has begun implementing some value-based concepts on several types of treatments.

There are many obstacles, of course; notably, determining how much healthcare professionals should get paid and what constitutes higher quality care. But the biggest issue may be a lack of skill to implement the new business model in the first place. In the report, Dr. Greenspun and co-author Chris Rowe analyzed the data from 2.5 million global professionals in Korn Ferry’s archives to determine the differences between fee-for-service and values-based-care leaders.

Strong fee-for-service leaders tend to be excellent at making existing systems more efficient and ensuring accountability. Value-based-care leaders, however, need to be bigger risk-takers and network builders as, in general, the new business model will require considerably more collaboration among doctors, nurses, administrators, and other healthcare professionals. Some fee-for-service leaders may turn out to be excellent leaders in the new healthcare world. But Dr. Greenspun says some professionals who may have been passed over for leadership positions before may now get a second look. 

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