Healthcare leaders must balance profits, social good

Healthcare providers face skyrocketing healthcare spending across the United States, funding cuts and dwindling Medicaid reimbursements--but leaders must focus on the social good their organizations can do rather than just making money, according to author Richard Gunderman, writing for The Atlantic.

Hospitals must make money to stay open, he concedes, but also must have sufficient satisfaction ratings from both employees and patients to maintain long-term success and retain customers willing to pay for the services.

"Instead of being purely profit driven, they need to be mission driven, they need a medical consciousness, turning what might otherwise seem mere jobs into vocations, true callings," Eric Silfen, M.D., former emergency medicine practitioner and current chief medical officer of Philips Healthcare, told Gunderman. "Physicians and nurses need to feel that they are making a difference in the world, but so too do the people in research and development, marketing and sales." 

Having happy employees can be more valuable than the bottom line, which means some healthcare leaders must change their ways of thinking and ask themselves different questions, according to the article.

"People want to keep their jobs and earn a good living," Silfen said. "But they also want to make the world a better place and produce something of real social worth. In some cases, the best question corporate leaders can ask themselves is not, 'How can we make more money?' but 'How can we help our people do something transformational in a socially responsible direction?'"

As employees get more of a say in hospitals' missions and day-to-day operations, and can contribute to innovating new ideas and strategies, they are more fulfilled at work, which generates more retention and efficiency, according to the article.

Hospitals around the country are delivering care in defiance of economic pressures. Dignity Health, which operates 300 care centers in 21 states, chose to keep its doors open at four hospitals in bankrupt municipalities, despite not yielding a profit, because they are a piece of the system's core mission, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the Atlantic article