The Business of Health Care

Today I had the opportunity to hear a panel discussion about my area’s health care initiatives from the following medical representatives:  Michael Rindler (interim CEO of Akron General Hospital), Michael Trainer (VP of Akron Children’s Hospital), and August Napoli (President of the Summa Foundation).  In regards to the conversation that took place, followed by a time of Q&A, here were a few stand-out items:

State your values and seek expression of those values at every level of the organization. Interim CEO, Michael Rindler, has pushed to create very simple values for easy communication and employee retention.  The values are 1) Be nice, 2) Work hard, and 3) Accommodate. When it comes to one of the country’s top children’s hospitals, Michael Trainer mentioned that you can never be with their CEO, Bill Considine, for more than 10 minutes without him repeating their award-winning and consistently upheld values: 1) Treat everyone how you would like to be treated, 2) Treat every child like they are your own, 3) Never turn a child away. This constant repeating and living of such values from the top, infuses its way to all part of the organization.

Know who you are. As Akron General Hospital and Summa Hospitals can be seen as competitors, they have each found themselves their own “blue ocean” markets within the medical community, keeping them at a collaborative and competitive edge.  For example, Summa Hospital has a clear identity and vision to keep dying hospitals afloat through takeovers, to ensure the thriving healthy care industry remains strong within Northeast Ohio.  Their two-step process of “acquire and integrate” is a part of their organizational fabric.  However, as Akron General long ago unsuccessfully attempted hospital acquisitions, they learned this wasn’t a part of their DNA.  Instead, they see their downtown campus as “command central” with the new opening of community-based wellness/E.R. centers that have now streamlined their preventive and emergency medicine niche within the community.

Competition and collaboration can coexist. It was apparent that as these hospitals seek to competitively reach the same clients, they recognize their ultimate mission is the wellness and health of the community.  So as they respectfully compete, they also collaborate on medical programs when and where needed.  As the Cleveland Clinic is now moving into Summit County region (we now have to see ourselves as a “five county community”), they all recognize the days of having “rules of engagement” are gone, and each organization has to do what makes good sense.

Just a few initial takeaways, with more to come.


~ by Dave Smith on February 18, 2010.

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