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5 Highlights from ACHE 2021 Congress on Healthcare Leadership

The American College of Healthcare Executives Congress on Healthcare Leadership was back last month in a fully virtual format after being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. This year’s Congress was packed with dozens of live and on-demand sessions that delivered insights on a range of topics, including clinical quality, hospital financial performance, and diversity and inclusion.

CompleteRx attended the virtual event March 22 – 25. Rick Burnett, Pharm.D., FACHE, Chief Operating Officer, and Kenneth Maxik, MBA, MBB, FACHE, RPh, Vice President Support Services, shared these highlights from Congress 2021:

Lessons learned from a global pandemic

More than a year after the coronavirus was first detected, the virus has had a devastating impact on the world’s health and economic well-being. The World Health Organization and many public health experts have cautioned that this won’t be the last global pandemic. To prevent and mitigate the impact of future pandemics, it’s essential to analyze perspectives and expertise from public health, epidemiology, political, economic, social services, medical and healthcare administrative leaders to cull key learnings.

In a session titled “The COVID-19 Pandemic: What Went Right and What Went Wrong,” panelists discussed learnings from the pandemic. Common sense public health precautions, such as hand washing, masking and health screening, were effective, but experts argued that the strict shutdowns that occurred across the country likely weren’t necessary and had a significant impact on the economy. Speakers also noted that the government’s denial of the magnitude of the problem early in the pandemic exacerbated the situation and politicized a public health crisis.

The connection between health equity and C-suite diversity

Healthcare inequities gained greater relevance during COVID-19 and the recent incidents of racial injustices. In a session on the connection between health equity and C-suite diversity, speakers emphasized that solving ingrained structural racism and health disparities depends on building C-suites that champion inclusion and diversity and reflect all constituents.

Through a presentation of research and case studies, a panel of healthcare executives discussed how C-suite diversity can help organizations achieve health equity goals and shared practical ways to develop sustainable C-suite diversity.

Remote video auditing supports safety initiatives

As the pandemic has illustrated, safety and proper hygiene protocols are more important than ever in successful hospital daily operations. A session on remote video auditing (RVA) highlighted one organization’s experience using this tool to improve patient and clinician safety. RVA was first used in the critical care setting to improve hand hygiene rates. Today, it’s used in hospitals systems across the country for a number of safety initiatives.

A presentation by Northwell Health LIJ Medical Center and North American Partners in Anesthesia showcased the results they achieved when they implemented remote video auditing technology in 28 operating rooms more than five years ago. The speakers shared how the technology drove improvements in safety, quality, surgeon satisfaction, patient experience and productivity. They also discussed how real-time, unbiased data drove behavior change in a large, highly complex health system.

Strengthening finances and reimbursement

The disruption of COVID-19, as well as the movement away from fee-for-service and toward value-based care, has challenged healthcare system finances in unprecedented ways. A number of ACHE Congress sessions covered topics related to health system financial health, improving operating margins, and maximizing reimbursement.

In one session, CEOs from some of the top health systems in the country discussed approaches for navigating short-term financial crises and developing strategies for prioritizing long-term financial health. Another session covered the economics driving the healthcare industry, including healthcare federal laws and bills shaping the industry and resource allocation methods to address the economic pressures.

Creating a culture of mentorship

Effective mentorships are key to helping healthcare professionals chart their careers and are a critical component to creating a high-performing organizational culture. In a session on creating a culture of mentorships, speakers explained how mentorship shapes an individual’s career success and discussed how to build a culture of mentorship to enhance organizational success.

Understanding the importance of mentoring employees, CompleteRx piloted a mentorship program last year and is currently expanding the program across the organization. Offering a mix of didactic and experiential mentorship opportunities, the program is geared toward retention and helping employees develop their careers at CompleteRx. CompleteRx partnered with a software vendor to scale the mentorship program. The software platform matches mentors with mentees across CompleteRx hospital sites.

In addition to attending the 2021 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, Maxik joined two other speakers to present an on-demand session, “Using the Baldrige Performance Excellence and ISO 9001 Frameworks to Thrive in Uncertain Times.” Both Maxik and Burnett appreciate the event’s learning and networking opportunities each year and look forward to the possibility of a return to an in person Congress in Chicago next year.

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