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Podcast: Michael Dowling, CEO of North Shore-LIJ

We recently interviewed Michael Dowling, President and Chief Executive Officer of North Shore-LIJ Health System.  Based in Great Neck, NY with facilities across the New York City region, North Shore-LIJ is the nation’s third largest non-profit secular healthcare system with 14 hospitals and 9,000 physicians. The health system is a winner of the National Quality Forum’s National Quality Healthcare Award.

Dowling, a long-time advocate of healthcare information technology, was the 2011 HIMSS/Modern Healthcare CEO IT Leader of the Year.

Here are a few quick highlights from the interview.  To hear the entire podcast, please click on the link at the bottom of this post.

What is the biggest challenge facing healthcare leaders today?

“I think it’s the necessity to completely transform how we do business. The future is going to require a lot more accountability, both to the public and to the actual patients that we see. And that’s going to require a major operational attitudinal change. There are many great successes in healthcare but I believe we must improve the quality of the service we provide, and do it at a more reasonable cost, which requires transforming everything that we do.”

How is North Shore-LIJ adjusting to health reform?

“The transition away from fee-for service towards value-based reimbursement will be incremental but organizations will have to take more risk to manage the care of patients across a lifecycle and be able to account for improved outcomes. You cannot do that without unbelievably robust IT systems to track information about patients and communities on an ongoing basis, share that information, and monitor quality.

“So the combination of a great IT partner and the right people is central to transforming how we deliver health care. The challenge going forward will be to make sure over time that all physicians understand this is not just a piece of technology; this is about culture change. Healthcare hasn’t been very customer oriented but that is changing. If you don’t satisfy the customer then you’re not going to be successful in the future. They’re going to be looking at the data and shopping around. We have to be one of the places that can produce the data to show that we’re doing better than everybody else.”

What keeps you up at night?

“I continually ask myself whether or not I have the right people. If you have the right people in the right place with the right motivation, the right commitment, then many things become possible. So I focus on ensuring we have the right people now, and on building a pipeline so we have the right people in the future. At the end of the day, that’s the thing that will allow you to transform the organization.”

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