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Healthcare Financial Managers Urged to Take Broad Approach to Find Value


Organizations facing tremendous pressure should take a broad perspective and look for where their core capabilities match the shifts in the broader industry and economy, according to an industry expert.

Organizations facing tremendous pressure should take a broad perspective and look for where their core capabilities match the shifts in the broader industry and economy.

That was the message delivered to a gathering of healthcare financial executives Sunday as the Healthcare Financial Management Association kicked off its 2016 National Institute in Las Vegas.

The message came from Sunday’s keynote speaker, Julie Williamson, PhD, a social scientist, consultant, and coauthor of the book, “Matter: Move Beyond the Competition, Create More Value, and Become the Obvious Choice.”

Williamson laid out three challenges that she said keep organizations from being able to adapt and thrive in a changing business climate. The first is competing priorities, such as trying to cut costs while also improving patient experience. She said organizations are also held back by a tendency to make assumptions that are limiting, and by falling into patterns where work is done out of habit, rather than with intention.

“It’s amazing to me how often in business we get into this kind of situation where we have no idea why we’re doing something,” she said.

Williamson, whose job title is “chief growth enabler” at the Denver-based consultancy Karrikins Group, said her firm has observed about a dozen behaviors they believe will help the healthcare industry make it through the current turbulence. She spotlighted three of those behaviors during her talk.

First, she urged the audience to look up from their corner of the industry and “see the whole board,” taking a broader look in order to see shifts that could someday transform their organizations or the industry as a whole. For example, she noted how Blockbuster, the one-time video rental behemoth, collapsed when it failed to see the promise of services like Netflix, which eliminated the retail store and the late fees from the movie-renting industry.

Williamson also told the gathering to be collaborative and work together in order to achieve their goals.

“I can’t think of an industry with bigger opportunities to co-create solutions than healthcare,” she said.

Williamson encouraged the attendees to use the HFMA conference to make connections that will allow them to find collaborative solutions.

“It takes more than any one company to solve some of these truly complex problems,” she said.

Finally, Williamson said organizations need to be optimistic. One simple way to do that: “We can learn to ask optimistic questions instead of pessimistic questions.”

As the attendees meet with other convention-goers, Williamson urged them to think out loud about their organization’s “edge of disruption.”

“What we’re looking at is where you create more value... where you create solutions that truly matter more,” she said.

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