Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
As a CEO, I am charged with looking toward the future and positioning us to survive in the future world. In order to survive in healthcare today, we have to be always thinking about what’s next, and how we will be ahead of the curve in meeting needs for our patients. We think about what services will be needed, and we are proactive about planning for them. Sometimes it seems like the future is coming barreling at us at the speed of sound and we can’t keep up. My role as a CEO is to help us position ourselves so that we are ready for anything. In my view, there are three things that we need to do for the future to be ready for whatever is ahead.
First, we need to invest in our people. We have the best staff in the world at the Highland companies. I was so proud to hear from some visitors from Acadia Healthcare this week about how impressed they are with our team. But we need to invest. We all need new leadership skills for the future. We’ll have to be able to think strategically, and not just in the moment. We need use innovative ways to address new problems. We need to mentor our young colleagues. We need to motivate and inspire others. We need to continue to grab every opportunity to grow our people. And as leaders, we need to think beyond just ourselves, and figure out how we can part of the solution to some of the problems of our state.
Next, we need to invest in technology. We can’t invest in technology for technology’s sake, but rather to increase our efficiency, to meet the needs of our patients, and to enhance the quality of care that we provide. We’ve been underinvested in the past, and it shows. We are losing the battle in terms of efficiency when we are forced to use more of our human capital to do what technology should do for us. Software that doesn’t serve our purposes and hardware that is outdated does not serve us well in the end, and eats up valuable time and brain power of our people who should be dedicated to being proactive, and not reactive. We will fix these issues for the future.
Finally, we need to embrace change. On this topic, since it’s an election year, I’ll use my favorite quotes from two Presidents. President Bill Clinton said “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” How true. We cannot afford, as a future looking organization, to do the same old thing. My promise is that we will not. President Barack Obama later said “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the one’s we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” If we want to be ready for the future, it’s in our collective hands. Who’s with me?