There are three crises causing a “perfect storm” in healthcare across the world, according to Mike Wagner, senior fellow at Ko Awatea.
These are: cost, access and quality, Mr Wagner told an audience of around 50 Ko Awatea and Counties Manukau Health staff recently.
The goal therefore is the establishment of more healthcare which costs less and does more good, he said, noting that 400,000 people die in the US every year because of the healthcare system.
“We’re just killing too many people that trust us for their healthcare.”
Mr Wagner, who is also the director of international research at the Advisory Board Company in Washington, argued that improving healthcare leadership is the key to addressing these crises.
In a successful organisation, he said, there are two aspects involved in the provision of good leadership – leadership infrastructure and leadership courage.
“If we compare healthcare organisations to a sailboat, there are two forces necessary to discover new places. Or, in healthcare, to achieve new levels of excellence,” Mr Wagner says.
“Those two forces are buoyancy – the boat must float – and momentum – we need wind in our sails to go forward.
“In healthcare, we can keep our organisations afloat through the basic infrastructure of leadership – training and data, etc. But, to achieve new levels of excellence, we need leadership courage to fill our sails – propelling us forward to yet undiscovered accomplishments.”
There are several ways people are dissuaded from demonstrating leadership courage, he says. These include being comfortable with the status quo (especially given people are likely to rate themselves as performing above their peers), a reluctance to accept new data when it contradicts their belief about their performance, and only looking to the familiar to assess performance, that is, benchmarking against oneself.
“Everything encourages us not to be motivated to take action.”
Great leadership, on the other hand, requires a decision to make a difference, and the willingness to recognise one’s own weaknesses in the interests of the greater good.
Mr Wagner outlined World Health CLIMB (College of Leadership, Innovation, Management and Beliefs) which was launched at APAC Forum 2016. He said sustainable improvement in healthcare leadership must necessarily be global.
“For leadership to be great in this way, it has to be great around the world.”