Empathy, harmony, and positivity are the three words that best describe my professional identity and character as a health care administrator. I am especially practiced at cultivating empathy and have become adept at sensing the feelings of those around me. I am often told that I tend to elevate the mood of those with whom I work, picking up the spirits of patients and hospital staff. Much of this has to do with the fact that I thrive on harmony and continually work to create and maintain it in my personal and professional life.
I always stay positive and rely on my gut instincts to guide me to the correct conclusion; this is aided by how I tend to understand my feelings and think of those around me. I have a keen ability to sense the emotions of others, and I am always open to new ideas, helping me form partnerships quickly. I always think about working to create and maintain linkages between individuals and groups, solidarity, advocacy for just causes, and assisting people in working together. I am also always discreet and always most respectful of the privacy rights of each individual.
Harmony is central to my professional work ethic, the constant search for balance and cooperation, and always searching for the highest level of teamwork possible. I seek to avoid conflict at all costs and always search for areas of agreement. If a situation is unclear, I seek objective advice and weigh my options carefully. I have always gone as far out of the way as necessary to avoid arguments or fights. Peaceful coexistence is one of my most essential core values, and I always at least try to be cooperative to the point to which it is possible to do so.
I am often told that my positive outlook can be contagious. I am always enthusiastic since the glass is always half full and never half empty for me. I give my all each day to do all that I can to help people believe in themselves, always focusing on the positive, what they already do well, and what they have already accomplished. I try to see the best in people and sometimes consciously attempt to look for it. I am upbeat, easygoing, and a good team player; I always support my teammates. I patiently observe, ask questions as needed, and make a point of listening to each individual I contact, especially in a professional context. I make it a point to applaud people’s accomplishments and consistently seek to give credit where credit is due.
I see patient engagement as going hand-in-hand with optimal outcomes. Thus, as a professional healthcare administrator, I envision that engagement with patients on some level will always be central to my professional interest and responsibility. Adequate patient engagement leads to greater satisfaction for both the patient and the health care worker, helping to create a pleasant and fulfilling workplace for patients and staff alike. Thus, in my dream job that I hope to have at some point as the CEO of a hospital, I will always place a top priority on patient engagement. I anticipate that I will always look to new technologies to further decrease the burden on staff, freeing up time for the exercise of other responsibilities and administrative tasks. To a large extent, the administration needs to be as fully automated as possible, where appropriate, and I look to technology for as much support as possible. Having patients take on routine tasks (like self-setting appointments, for example) can lead to lower no-show rates and greater compliance with care plans. And while nothing can replace a face-to-face relationship with a healthcare provider for driving patient engagement, non-face-to-face communication can also greatly benefit. Engaged patients are more likely to return to the practice, pay their bills, and comply with treatment plans. This leads to healthy bottom lines for practices and better patient outcomes.
I look forward to a long professional life in healthcare administration that sees costs contained while enhancing quality and access. I hope to witness changes so that the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans do not consume one-fifth of our health care costs. I would like to see access become more egalitarian. I look forward to contributing to that cause to the extent to which opportunity presents itself as a hospital administration professional. I look forward to doing research in the area of chronic disease management in neighborhood-based care centers.
I spend much of my free time reading about how improved outpatient care models may lead to better outcomes and ways of identifying at-risk patients. I have recently been most intrigued by my extensive reading about CareMore’s Neighborhood Care Centers, where a team delivers care and remotely monitors data collected by patients in their homes, enabling intervention as necessary. Without the widespread use of such care models that manage patients in the community rather than in the hospital, remote monitoring technology could produce earlier and higher emergency department use and hospitalization rates. Thus, my approach to increased monitoring is mixed, but it shows promise in responding to the ever-growing demands on physicians’ time.
For me, the intense joy of serving as a healthcare administrator goes far beyond simply meeting measures of health and survival to deliver and redesign care better to meet the goals and needs of our patients. I always employ a holistic approach by combining multiple alignment levers such as personal autonomy, clinical autonomy, colleagues, IT department, etc. I strive to make a lifelong contribution to helping healthcare organizations' organizational leaders overcome the misconception that compensation is the most critical driver for physicians. Instead, I seek to shed light on and celebrate the whole gambit of factors that make the workplace environment as satisfying as possible for all workers employed at the hospital, including physicians.
While I see the control, if not reduction, of costs, as central to the mission of the healthcare administrator, I also seek to improve standardization and reduce waste. Hospital administrators must acknowledge that the journey will be difficult and require sacrifices along the way. Administrators must also convey their willingness to support physicians for the long haul, providing clear expectations about why change may be necessary and giving physicians time to agree with the rationale for any changes the administrator may see as necessary. Physicians must receive clear messages about what is expected during the change process. To do this effectively, someone needs to come along, point out the vision, and lead the physicians in the right direction. In addition to outstanding leadership, physicians must see the organization as a partner they can believe in, a partner that will help them. I seek to become a partner that will work to improve the lives of patients and everyone involved with the hospital where I work.
While delivering care and reducing costs are critical, achieving these improvements requires physician buy-in because their decisions drive the majority of quality and cost outcomes. It’s vital, therefore, to create a shared vision that aligns the health system and the physicians with complete administrative data, analytical, and reporting support so that the implementation of organizational improvements meets with success.
Health administrators must be good listeners and actors, never forgetting that actions will always speak louder than words and go a long way toward developing trusting relationships. Once trust is achieved, buy-in will follow, and enthusiasm to move forward with quality improvement efforts will benefit everyone, enabling the organization to succeed during massive changes in its industry. Finally, it is essential to remember that we should not confuse control with delegation. Being a successful leader is not about being the one everyone always turns to for everything. It means having the awareness to build teams and surround yourself with other capable people so that you can focus on what’s most important. The more control you give up, the better.
Thank you for considering my application to your distinguished Fellowship Program in Healthcare Administration.