4 Things to Know About the Shifting Landscape of Healthcare Executive Leadership Teams

How Healthcare Leadership Priorities are Shifting…

Today, healthcare organizations are in the midst of a period of rapid and unprecedented change. With the number of mergers and acquisitions creating larger health systems, the increase in insurance complexity brought on by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and the disruption generated by new innovative technologies, there is a fresh need for new and different healthcare leadership talent and roles.

A recent white paper survey by the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives delves into the critical things healthcare leaders should know about recruiting healthcare executives. The white paper contains a number of valuable insights that healthcare leadership and organizations can leverage to ensure not only that they attract the best candidates, but also that that they hire executive talent that will stand the test of time.

Top Challenges Facing Organizations

While nearly 75 percent of hospital and care system leaders express confidence that their current senior management team has the experience and skill sets to help the organization achieve its strategic priorities, experience in leading nontraditional health partnerships, population management, change management, advanced financial expertise and experience in data analytics were seen as the largest capability gaps. This presents both and opportunity and a challenge for healthcare organizations. While they all have the chance to grow their organizations and capitalize on the industry changes, success is only possible with right right executives to lead and navigate through uncertainty.


The Landscape of Healthcare Leadership Teams is Shifting

The change we see in the market, makeup and goals of healthcare organizations is driving change in the approach to recruiting. More than half of respondents to the survey, which primarily targeted healthcare executive search firms, said that over the course of the last five years, their firm’s healthcare clients have changed the positions or roles they have included in senior leadership teams.

Numerous firms responded that their clients are shifting focus to include more physician leadership roles and an emphasis on integrating physician leadership into the overall healthcare leadership team Additionally, they said they planned on adding “more population health roles, more positions related to clinical integration or medical group management, more roles focused on quality, more positions related to accountable care organizations, more clinical positions and more roles addressing value-based payment. Other organizations are looking to streamline, centralize or consolidate roles.


Multiple Factors are Fueling the Change In Healthcare Leadership Teams

Evolving RolesWhen asked by the survey which factors and trends were influencing the way healthcare organizations construct their senior leadership teams, the most common response was an increased demand for physician leadership. However, while physician leaders are needed, they can be a challenge to find. In addition to a need for physician leadership, healthcare clients also reported an increased emphasis on population health, mergers, acquisitions and consolidation of organizations into healthcare systems. Other organizations expressed that the need for affiliations or partnerships between organizations, such as community partnerships, and the continuum of care.


Challenges Facing Organizations in Finding Qualified Senior Leadership

Healthcare Trends 2016 InfographicOver half of the survey’s respondents agreed that over the last five years, healthcare clients have changed their requirements when it comes to the skills, knowledge and credentials necessary to be considered for a senior leadership position. In terms or which competencies are most in demand, change management was the leader, followed by emotional intelligence, ability to influence rather than direct, strategic thinking, collaboration, innovative thinking and critical thinking. Also named were adaptability and decision-making ability.

The fact that change management is the leading competency driving change in healthcare executive leadership recruiting is good evidence that the industry is transforming into something new. According to a recent journal article by the Oman Medical Journal, managing change in healthcare is about “handling the complexity of the process.” It’s about “evaluating, planning and implementing operations, tactics and strategies to make sure that the change was worthwhile and relevant,” the article continues. “Managing change is a complex, dynamic and challenging process. It’s never a choice between technological or people-oriented solutions but a combination of all.”


The Hardest Qualities to Find for Senior Leadership Positions May Surprise You

The most difficult competency to find among candidates for senior leadership positions was innovative thinking, followed by emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, change management and deep experience in population health. In a discussion that took place later on, healthcare clients elaborated on what was important to them when it comes to hard-to-find skills. One of the hottest topics was the need to find candidates for leadership roles who can “not only influence, but influence with integrity, as opposed to those who manipulate or bully others.”

Healthcare leaders remarked that there are plenty of bullies out there, but that it’s most important to find someone with integrity that can engage staff and be a “master of systems”. This refers to someone who functions well in a matrix organization and can be successful when they are “unable to control all of the components or elements that impinge on the operations under their direction.”


Work With a Recruiting Firm to Find Healthcare Leadership to Manage Change

In the midst of this period of unprecedented change, there is a widespread pressure for healthcare organizations to do more with less. Given the rise in consumerism among patients, increased focus on population health management and the increased complexity of insurance brought on by the implementation of the ACA, many healthcare leaders are turning towards executive search firms like Healthcare Recruiters International to help them not only define new senior leadership roles, but also to help fill roles on their senior leadership teams.

For over 30 years, we’ve been bringing the best healthcare talent in the world and leading organizations together. With over 20+ practice areas, we act as a consultative business partner to help our clients fill a wide variety of roles in Allied Health, Hospitals, Medical Research and Executive Search. If you’re looking for a new hire, get in touch with us today to learn more.


Key takeaways:

  • The landscape of healthcare leadership is shifting to include new and exciting roles brought by the need to effectively manage change.
  • Additional physician leadership is needed, along with those who specialize in population health, mergers, acquisitions and consolidation of organizations into healthcare systems.
  • Innovative thinking is the most sought after and difficult quality to find in a healthcare leadership candidate.
  • Change management is the leading complacency driving shifting leadership priorities.