The three words that best describe my professional identity and character as a health care administrator are ‘empathy, harmony, and positivity’. I am especially practiced at my cultivation of 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 alike. Much of this has to do with the fact that I thrive on harmony and always work to create and maintain it, in my personal as well as professional life.
I always stay positive and rely on my gut instincts to guide me to the right conclusion; this is aided by the way that I tend to understand the feelings and thinking 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 to form partnerships easily. I always think in terms of working to form and maintain linkages between individuals and groups, solidarity, advocacy for just causes, helping people to work together. I am also always discreet and always most respectful of privacy rights for each individual.
Harmony is central to my professional work ethic, the constant search for balance and cooperation, always in search of the highest level of teamwork possible. I seek to avoid conflict at all costs and to always search for areas of agreement. If a situation is unclear to me, I seek objective advice and way 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 for me the glass is always half full and never half empty. I give my all each day to doing all that I can to help people to 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 I make a conscious attempt sometimes to look for it. Upbeat, easygoing, most of all I am a good team player and always support my teammates. I patiently observe, ask questions as needed, and make a point o listen to each individual with whom I come into contact with, especially in a professional context. I make it a point o applaud people’s accomplishments and always 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. This is because engagement = better outcomes. Adequate patient engagement leads to greater satisfaction for both the patient and the health care worker, contributing to the creation of a pleasant and fulfilling workplace for patient 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 in addition to administrative tasks. Administration needs, to a large extent, 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, even non-face-to-face communication can be of great benefit. Engaged patients are more likely to return to the practice, pay their bills, and comply with their treatment plans. All of this leads to healthy bottom lines for practices, as well as better outcomes for patients.
I look forward to a long professional lifetime in healthcare administration that sees costs contained at the same time that quality and access are enhanced. I hope to become witness to 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 and I look forward to contributing to that cause to the extent to which opportunity presents itself as a hospital administration professional. I look forward at some point to doing research in the area of chronic-disease management in neighborhood-based care centers.
I spend a lot of my free time reading about the way that improved outpatient care models may lead to better outcomes, along with better means of identifying at-risk patients. Most recently, I have been most intrigued with my extensive reading about CareMore’s Neighborhood Care Centers, where a team delivers care and also 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, the use of remote monitoring technology could ironically produce earlier and higher rates of emergency department use and hospitalization. Thus, my approach to increased monitoring is mixed but it does show promise in terms of responding to the ever-growing demands on physicians’ time.
For me, the intense joy of service as a health care administrator goes far beyond simply meeting measures of health and survival to deliver and redesign care in a way that better meets the goals and needs of our individual patients. I always seek to employ a holistic approach by combining multiple alignment levers such as personal autonomy, clinical autonomy, colleagues, IT department, etc. I seek to make a lifelong contribution to helping organizational leaders of healthcare organizations to overcome the misconception that compensation is the most important drivers for physicians. Rather, I seek to shed light on and in fact celebrate the full 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 at times and that there will need to be sacrifices along the way. Administrators must also convey their willingness to support the physicians for the long haul, providing clear expectations about why change may be necessary, giving physicians time to agree with the rationale for any changes that the administrator may see as necessary. It is important for physicians to receive clear messages about what is expected from them during the change process. To do this effectively, someone needs to come along, point out the vision, and then lead the physicians in the right direction. In addition to great leadership, physicians also need to see the organization as a partner, a partner they can believe in. A partner that will help them. A partner that will not only work to improve the lives of their patients, and in fact everyone that the organization comes into contact with, including the lives of the physicians.
While the delivery of 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 critical, therefore, to create a shared vision that aligns the health system and the physicians with full administrative data, analytical, and reporting support so that the implementation of administrative improvements meets with success.
Health administrators need to be good listeners as well as actors, and keep in mind that actions will always speak louder than words, and go a long way towards the development of trusting relationships. Once trust is achieved, buy-in will follow and enthusiasm to move forward with quality improvement efforts that will benefit everyone, enabling the organization to achieve success during an era of massive changes to its industry as a whole. Finally, I it is important to keep in mind 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.
I thank you for considering my application to your distinguished Fellowship Program in Healthcare Administration.