Healthcare costs are rising faster than Massachusetts businesses can afford. The state’s healthcare costs are the highest in the world. Health insurance is typically the second or third largest employer expense, and many businesses are struggling as costs steadily increase. Benefit packages remain a key element to an employer’s status as a company of choice.

Read more: Gaining Control

Since then, I’ve watched two out of the three department stores in my local shopping mall close up shop, while hospitals in the area continue to compete with each other for all the major services rather than specializing. In June, I received a press release on a “vision statement” from IBM that reaches the same conclusion I did back in ’04.

Read more: Playing to Strengths

Our cover story last month (“Balancing Act”) detailed the ways progressive hospitals are working to improve their physician relationships. During interviews for the article, a member of The Healthcare Advisory Board and a Noblis consultant both told me they’re seeing a definite trend toward employing physicians. 

Read more: Get On Board

The question of why smart people do dumb things becomes critical when it comes to organization leaders. From the Challenger disaster to Enron, from Martha Stewart to the subprime mortgage mess, we see how “the smartest guys in the room” might as well be living on Pluto. Why do some leaders, perhaps even on your team, act with confidence, yet haven’t got a clue?  

Read more: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

The good news is that you have a leadership job in an American hospital. The bad news is that you have a leadership job in an American hospital. As turbulence and turmoil continues in American healthcare, managers find themselves each day in a new environment, taking over new leadership assignments, or redefining their role. 

Read more: Notes to the New Leader

With healthcare becoming more transparent across the board, most agree that this is a good direction for the industry. Still, there are roadblocks along the way to a truly transparent system, one of which is online sites where anyone (patients, competitors, disgruntled employees) can say what they want about a physician anonymously.

Read more: Using Web and Privacy In the Same Sentence

I’m talking about a November 16 article in the Boston Globe, “A Healthcare System Badly Out of Balance.” It details the ugly truth about Partners Healthcare, formed in 1994 by bringing together two of the most prestigious hospitals in Boston: Brigham & Women’s and Mass General.

Read more: Strong Arm Out, Transparency In

Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha, observed recently that he doesn’t know what the future will bring and that most businesses can’t know it, no matter how much strategic planning they do or how many futurists they hire. What seems to be more important, he observed, is to know the past they’re leaving behind and the importance of leaving it behind as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they wind up bankrupt and with no future, a real risk now facing American hospitals.

Read more: Ditch the System

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