Distinguished Guest Lecturer in Healthcare Administration Ellen Zane, the former president and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children, recently shared her ideas on what’s in store for hospitals with Suffolk healthcare students, alumni, and faculty.

Her thoughts are based on years of experience. Before joining Tufts, she was network president for Partners Healthcare System Inc., where she developed a provider network of 5,600 physicians for the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women's Hospital.

Employees are your Biggest Assets

Hospital leaders cannot go it alone– they must work with physicians to bring about change, Zane said.

“It’s not how many buildings you have, it’s the doctors, nurses, and people you have,” she explained.

Zane stressed the importance of recruiting more top-performing doctors because they’re the ones who build a hospital’s reputation. “Lose your top docs and you lose your brand,” she said.

Collaboration is Key

Integrated care is essential. Healthcare in one setting affects a patient’s care down the road, Zane said. For instance, a patient’s medical management in a community setting will influence his risk of hospital readmission.

Today, hospitals are buying health plans, teaming up with home care organizations, and building new alliances with medical practices. The future of accountable care organizations means the end of unaffiliated, unrelated providers along the continuum of care.

Effective Contracting is Critical

Contracts between providers and insurance plans can be risky. These contracts govern the relationship between health plans, providers, services, and fees.

While new arrangements seek to bend the cost curve, healthcare administrators need to be careful that it doesn’t happen at the expense of hard-working providers.

Leading in Today's Healthcare Industry

Zane said successful healthcare administrators need to think innovatively, support change, promote quality care, speak out against market disparities, and weigh in on policy discussions.