Keeping healthcare costs down has come to seem like an all-consuming concern, but some real progress is being made. The simple fee for service models of the past are giving way to better tuned approaches that prioritize health-related outcomes. Instead of encouraging providers to issue every possible test, inflating costs in the process, more focused diagnostic approaches are starting to make a difference.
Of course, progress on the cost front can only happen insofar as patient health always remains the top priority. Given that there can be no tolerance for backsliding in this respect or others, strong leadership remains a must. With a whole new range of associated challenges to tackle, a new generation of healthcare executives is leading the charge.
In many cases, these newcomers arrive from fairly unexpected places. The healthcare industry is a highly traditional one in many respects, with specialization also being the rule. As a result, top leaders have for many years typically climbed up from within, instead of bringing in insights from other industries entirely.
Unfortunately, the weaknesses of that way of doing things have long since become apparent, with too many top executives failing to provide the kinds of perspectives and leadership that are needed to deal with an enduring problem like cost inflation. Leaders now arriving from industries of different kinds, though, are often much better positioned to make this sort of a difference.
Those who view Jim Tsokanos on LinkedIn, for instance, will discover an executive who is putting to good use skills and experiences built up in a very different environment. Now the CEO of a major hospital network, Tsokanos cut his teeth as a leader in the marketing and advertising industry. A continual focus on seeking out and implementing ways of meeting the most challenging targets has helped him make a difference in the healthcare industry as well, even only soon after arriving.
While there are some healthcare industry veterans who are well equipped to lead in the drive to control costs, many of the success stories of recent times have happened under the banners of relative outsiders. Whether that will be the norm going forward is difficult to say, but it has become clear that a simple shift in perspective can be valuable.