Webinar, Research Report

Chief Operating Officers Forum Debrief Spring 2023

Posted By The Academy

May 18, 2023

Here's a debrief on our recent Leading Health System (LHS) Chief Operating Officers (COO) Forum. We shared what these executives discussed with their peers, including what’s top of mind for COOs coming out of the forum:

  • Rethinking Their Role and Strategic Value:

     COOs are taking stock of their duties and variability with peers. Compared to other executives, COOs come to the role with more diverse backgrounds and have more variation in responsibilities. However, COOs generally agreed that they are “chief accountability officers” – i.e., responsible for ensuring that the organization’s needs get done.

  • Continuing to make progress on systemness:

     As many systems have had recent (and not so recent) mergers, they continue to integrate clinical shared services and other back-end services across their sites and markets. COOs feel this integration is necessary for efficiency, staff stability, and consistency of service delivery and mission execution.

  • Countering labor shortages with comprehensive and creative workforce solutions:

    Changing demand and waning supply of staff has been a complex challenge, but COOs are using new, out-of-the-box solutions such as early education in the healthcare field and “family-wide” careers to offer the right transparency, engagement opportunities, and pay incentives to be able to meet staff where needed.

  • Partnering with other leaders to build the workforce of the future:

     To address longstanding and projected shortages, COOs are partnering with other workforce leaders to integrate programs upstream that train, license, and funnel younger generations – especially focusing on technologist and other ancillary clinical roles.

  • Seeking Site of Service Optimization:

     Rationalization & consolidation of services also seems to be on the table now, whereas in the past COOs would support all possible growth opportunities, even offerings that aren’t necessarily warranted in their market.

  • Considering the hospital of the future: Planning for future facility design in which AI and virtual technology have redesigned care delivery, physical signage has become obsolete, and environmental sustainability is critical. Micro and neighborhood hospitals with modular spaces offer space that is needed but at a lower overhead cost.

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