Three Steps to Help Healthcare Leaders Solve Today’s Challenges

Welcome to the Innovative Leadership Newsletter brought to you by the Innovative Leadership Institute, where we bring you thought leaders and innovative ideas on leadership topics each week.

This week’s article is written by Maureen Metcalf, founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute. It is a companion piece to her interview with Dr. Anne Klibanski, President and CEO of Mass General Brigham, a Boston-based integrated healthcare system, on Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future titled Bringing Healing Home – Healthcare Leadership which aired on March 7, 2023. 


Short clip from the interview:

Link to the entire interview:

Listen to the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future via Apple PodcastsTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One.

The healthcare industry is one of the most challenged industries in the world. Particularly in the wake of COVID, healthcare leaders face a multitude of hurdles: medical staff burnout, insufficient patient rooms in hospitals to meet demand, less access to healthcare for many people, rising operating costs, and so much more.

They may feel insurmountable, but Mass General Brigham — a Boston-based integrated healthcare system — uses three core steps to meet those challenges, and create a more effective, efficient, and equitable system of care in the process.

Step 1. Gather leaders together to create a common vision

Forging a common vision pulls a team’s perspective away from their own silos. By understanding the larger mission and goals of the organization, every department has a “north star” to point their actions to the overall healthcare system’s success. That generates consensus, and every employee, from custodial service to the O.R.’s most elite surgical team, can see how their work contributes to this shared vision of the future.

To ensure the success of the vision, include all stakeholders in the process. Bring together different perspectives from across the organization. Communicate the vision across your entire organization. It’s up to leaders to create a culture of accountability and support for the vision, too. This can include setting up clear performance metrics, providing resources and incentives for achieving goals, and recognizing those who contribute to the success of the vision.

Step 2. Begin with the end in mind: think, design and act from the patient back

The core mission for any healthcare leader centers on one goal: the best possible outcome for every patient. Key to that is challenging the narrative of “we’ve always done it this way,” and finding new approaches to solving both new and enduring problems.

The COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be an unexpected accelerator for such change. It forced people to work remotely, think differently, and suspend what they thought was required in order to provide the best patient care. At Mass General Brigham, for example, virtual care visits went from a few thousand to over two million in just one year. Working back from patients’ need to continue seeing doctors despite quarantine, Mass General took existing technology, innovated with it, and implemented today’s more robust virtual visit system.

Step 3. Accelerate the implementation and use of existing technology to deliver care

This flows directly from Step 2’s COVID lesson. Seeing existing systems and technologies in a new light can have tremendous benefit for patients. Focusing on the common goal helps your team envision ways to reshape treatments, procedures, and delivery of care through both research and innovation.

An added bonus: if your healthcare team is already thinking in new and innovative ways, they’ll be more prepared to continue serving patients well in the next crisis.


Dr. Anne Klibanski has proven the value of these steps as President and CEO of Mass General Brigham. Through her leadership, and her team’s dedication, they have created an integrated healthcare system that has the patient at the center, and are constantly working to shape a better future for their patients.



Dr. Anne Klibanski is President and CEO of Mass General Brigham, a Boston-based integrated healthcare system that includes internationally known Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, nationally recognized specialty hospitals, seven community hospitals, a health insurance company, physician networks, community health centers, home-based care, and long-term care services.

Dr. Klibanski’s vision for Mass General Brigham is to build the integrated academic health care system of the future with patients at the center, by transforming care, improving outcomes, and expanding impact locally, nationally, and globally. She has led clinical integration of services across the system, spearheaded the development of new digital platforms to achieve digital care, and overseen the increased investment in leading-edge research since assuming the role in 2019.



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Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future via Apple PodcastsTuneInStitcherSpotify,  Amazon Music,  AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Also, stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute on LinkedIn.

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