The unprecedented speed and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic forced hospitals and health systems to address many unexpected challenges. As health care leaders and their teams rebuild and have time to reflect, they learn about decisions that worked and those that didn’t, and about what capabilities they will need to harness in a new pandemic-impacted reality. COVID-19 has amplified the need for and impact of leadership. Prioritizing certain leadership capabilities and growing the next generation of leaders will enable the transformation needed and position the field to reimagine care delivery.
What characterizes the transformative health care leader? While there’s no one formula for success in the future health care environment, leaders who are likely to succeed at navigating the transition and leading beyond it share five key competencies — the abilities to:
- Navigate the new health care environment and competitive landscape. Identify, compete and/or partner with new market entrants and other disruptors. Understand their unique business models and the corresponding threats and opportunities for the organization.
- Expand innovation capacity. Develop and sustain a culture of innovation and calculated risk taking. Support structures and techniques that sustain innovation within the organization.
- Effect positive organizational change. Communicate a compelling vision and proactively manage change to empower a resilient workforce.
- Drive digital transformation. Advocate for including the digital experience in the organization’s framework of overall patient experience.
- Lead the shift from health care to well care. Plan for the continued transition from fee-for-service to value-based models, and lead the organization toward effectively managing risk. Guide the organization toward achieving broader population health and equity goals.
Leaders who exhibit these competencies and nurture them in others will move toward a reimagined health care delivery system — one in which all communities and individuals can reach their highest potential for health.
To support the field in this endeavor, the AHA launched its Next Generation Leaders Fellowship program. This yearlong, competitive program is designed to position high-potential individuals to lead health care organizations through the next decade and beyond. Fellows have the opportunity to network and make professional connections with an elite cohort of peers and mentors. Each mentor will be matched to a Fellow for one-on-one coaching and guidance throughout the program. Applications are now being accepted for the 2022-2023 cohort. Join an informational webinar on Feb. 1 at 12 p.m. CT to learn more.