Give CMOs the Tools for Success

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , August 3, 2012

Instead, you have to be able to provide a framework under which everyone agrees to how they should practice. Only then will you be able to start to address costs.

"I was working with a system and wanted to know how to manage their electronic medical records, so they went to see Geisinger (Health System, in Danville, Pa.)," he says. But likely, that was a mistake because most hospitals have nothing in common with Geisinger's organizational structure as an all employed-physician clinic model.

"Their governance and decision-making is altogether different and docs own their decisions because they have a vested interest," he says. "In a community-based system, most leaders haven't gotten over the idea that physicians are your customer. They're not. If you haven't bridged that gap, your solutions won't come from the Geisingers and Mayos of the world."

The real value of CMO is in determining where to be four to five years for now and creating the vision for clinicians to hope and aspire to, he says.

"The CEO can't provide a clinical vision any better than I can provide a financial or acquisition vision," he says. "The CMO has to be the mouthpiece for why care standardization is desirable and provide a vision of where we want to be a year or three years from now, extending care beyond the four walls of the hospital."

If they can do that, physicians will recognize them for something other than being a suit.

And one last piece of advice for both the CMO and CEO: "You won't get there without each other."


Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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