What 7 healthcare leaders have to say about how to improve quality, control costs

The healthcare industry's intense focus on delivering better care at lower costs has started a national conversation about how payment reform, new delivery models and health IT can help achieve those shared goals.

Healthcare leaders have a lot to say.

So the editors at FierceHealthcare, FierceHealthFinance and FierceHealthIT combed through our exclusive interviews and industry conference coverage to round up the most thought-provoking and memorable quotes from healthcare thought leaders about how to improve efficiency, control costs, harness the power of big data and more.

Here are 7 of our favorite quotes from our news coverage over the past 12 months:

1. "You can bankrupt an organization very quickly if you don't understand your patient population."

Who said it: Tina Buop, CIO of La Clinica de la Raza, a community health center in Oakland, Calif., explaining how predictive analytics data can help your patients and your business.

2. "In a very real sense, the people who really consume those services are the physicians. So you have physicians who, with a stroke of their pen, can make or break a hospital."

Who said it: Brent James, chief quality officer and executive director of the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research at Utah's Intermountain Healthcare, discussing how the organization put the focus on patient-centeredness instead of revenue enhancement to improve not only outcomes but also the bottom line.

3. "It's almost like the Starbucks phenomenon--if there's one in your town, then I want in my town."

Who said it: Rich Snyder, chief medical officer for Independence Blue Cross, highlighting the success of its growing patient-centered medical home program that gives doctors the opportunity to earn 220 percent of base pay.

4. "We're spending gazillions of dollars and we don't have interoperability."

Who said it: Intermountain Healthcare CIO Marc Probst who also serves as a member of the federal Health IT Policy Committee, warning that interoperability and ICD-10 are among healthcare's biggest hurdles.

5."Put patients first and give the money back. I know this will produce hives for many of you in the audience."

Who said it: Don Berwick, M.D., former administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and now official candidate for Massachusetts governor, charging healthcare finance leaders to achieve a "triple aim" healthcare system that offers better care, better health and better costs, during a keynote address at Healthcare Financial Management Association's annual ANI conference in June.

6. "All of the care coordination in the world does not amount to a hill of beans if patients go home and they don't take their medications."

Who said it: Will Shrank, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, noting that healthcare reform holding providers accountable for quality and costs has made medication adherence a key part of the bottom line.

7. "From the football coach facing the media after a big game to a mom or dad reviewing with their spouse a parenting decision made in the heat of the moment, no one enjoys being second-guessed.

Who said it: Kerry Gillespie, executive vice president of Operations Finance for Health Management Associates in Naples, Fla., claiming that while accountability is important and necessary for providing the best care, Medicare recovery auditor (RAC) denials can hurt hospitals and patients.