The Healthcare CEO Podcast with Special Guest Paul Duck

Healthcare CEO Podcast

Welcome to the Healthcare CEO podcast. Join us as Daniel Fernandez, healthcare leader and Patient Experience advocate, leads dynamic one-on-one discussions with healthcare executives, consultants, and other industry experts. Listen in as they share actionable insights and unique perspectives in the day in the life of a healthcare CEO.

*The following is a transcription from our interview with Special Guest Paul Duck, that can be watched here.

Daniel Fernandez: Hello and welcome to the Healthcare CEO podcast. I’m your host, Daniel Fernandez. With me today, I have a very exciting guest for lots of reasons — which we’ll dive into in just a short bit. But before we get started, let me give you a brief intro to Mr. Paul Duck, who’s a Senior Associate at Open Minds. Paul has over 40 years of experience in leadership and management focusing on managed care, health information technology organizations, strategies, business development, market expansion, and customer experience optimization. He’s held roles as CEO, VP, or President of organizations such as Beacon Health Options, Netsmart Technologies, Coastal Orthopedics and Pain Management, and Florida Radiology Imaging — which I believe ultimately became known as Advent Health Imaging or something when Florida Hospital changed names.

The organizations he’s led have earned awards from INC for being the fastest-growing companies in the US, he’s been a keynote speaker for numerous events, and he’s also recently served as contributing author for a book titled The New Health Age: The Future of Healthcare in America. Welcome, Paul!

Paul Duck: Hey! Thanks, Daniel!

DF: So, of all the CEOs I’ve had the pleasure — the distinct pleasure — of knowing over the years, I would say that — I’m going to kick things off here with letting people know that you have the coolest style of any CEO I have ever met.

PD: Hey, you know what? Just hanging around you for any amount of time, it automatically kind of rubs off. So, yeah.

DF: I mean, consistently, you’ve had the best hair, and you’ve been the best dressed of any CEO, ever. I mean, when we first — we met years ago — and when we first met, the first thing I noticed about you was your amazing shoes. I thought to myself “I’ve gotta up my shoe game now.”

PD: Oh my gosh. I have so many stories about shoes, ‘cause I actually have a dear friend of mine and colleague, Doug B___. He’s been in the healthcare industry forever. He’s CEO of a bunch of different companies, and he and I go back and forth, ‘cause he wears the very conservative, you know, loafer or shoe type shoe — wingtip — and I call him (his last name is Battershea) I call him Bad Shoes. It’s a great battle back and forth. But thanks for the compliments on the shoes. Now it’s on record, and hopefully a lot of people will find Doug and bug him about this.

DF: I mean, what’s your secret? Have you always had this amazing sense of style? Is it something you’ve polished over the years? I mean, I’m dying to know.

PD: A lot of people are obsessed with fashion and whatnot. I just like stuff that I like. Well, I care about what other people like, but I care more about what I like. So, I know that sounds a little bit narcissistic, but you know, does it fit, is it X, Y, and Z? You know, I guess there’s a part of me that wants to be a little bit different than wearing bad shoes.

DF: Yeah. I mean, this is narcissistic. By CEOs, for CEOs.

PD: Haha. Yeah.

DF: Of course. No worries there. Tell us a bit about your background. I mean, how did you become — what I believe — to be one of the most influential leaders in healthcare? I mean, where does it start and what was your journey?

PD: Well, thank you. The journey started actually — I entered the healthcare industry back in the early ‘90s. And it was through an acquisition of a software technology company that was in the behavioral health software technology space, and I did a series of acquisitions in the 90s of companies that were, essentially, rehabilitations. And I did the rehabs and sold them to somebody who wanted to run them. ‘Cause I wasn’t interested in the kind of the long-term, you know, family-oriented business. It was more of, you know, I know how to fix things — it’s Business 101. And there’s lots of reasons why I think entrepreneurs fail and all of them had symptoms of the same formula, if you will.

DF: Were you born with this kind of business acumen?

DF: No. Not really. There’s a couple of things. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some incredible business minds. Frankly, I’ve had the privilege of working with people who were complementary with my skill as a leader. That’s one of the secret sauces of business leadership. Hire some people who are better than you in certain areas, and that combined effort then becomes the best of the best. You know, which I think is what every organization tries to achieve. And certainly, in the organizations that you and I have in common, that was really the case. We were pretty relentless with finding the best of the best and then attracting them, and then letting them know it was all real, and we were actually going to make a difference.

DF: Yeah, yeah. And honestly, Lauren and I — as owners of this healthcare communications firm — we’ve done the exact same thing. We’ve made it a point to surround ourselves with people who are much smarter than we are. Honestly. And we get the hell out of their way and let them do what they’re best at. Because of that, we’ve experienced enormous success. So that’s a very good point.

PD: For sure. For sure.

DF: Was it always your goal to wind up in healthcare?

PD: It wasn’t. No, no, no. Like I said, the opportunity arose in the early ‘90s to do this software technology play and it just — one thing led to another. When you spend a decade in an industry and you start to really have some experiences and successes, you gain some traction. And then, in the late 90s/early 2000s, I did a dot com play with a private equity venture-backed — as well as with traditional banks — consortium of banks, and venture capitalists funding a dot com, which, we all know how dot com ended. But actually, that particular dot com, all of the assets that were developed in that few years the company was in business are still being used by several companies today, so it wasn’t a complete meltdown, if you will. Even though the economic models back in that day were flawed and I think everybody knew it, there was a lot of denial in that day.

DF: Tell us about your current role with Open Minds’ performance.

PD: Open Minds provides consulting and education. They run several different institutes throughout the year. One’s on Leadership — in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this year, in the fall. And they run a Performance Management Institute in Clearwater every year. A technology conference and strategy conference in June, in New Orleans, typically. So obviously, the virtual conferences have kind of taken place. Also, they do management and best practices. But I’ve known the founder and owner of that company for over 20 years, Monica Oss, who is probably one of the smartest healthcare people I’ve ever met. She’s one of those people who has lots and lots of energy. She is tenacious as a businessperson, and, I mean, obviously, when you’re working with somebody — when you get along really well with them — it makes everything so much simpler. And Monica’s one of those people. I have a huge amount of respect for her, and probably for a lot of people who know me, that comes with high acclaim, because I tend to be a little hard on people. But she’s certainly been a winner. And the firm has been successful over 20 years, so it’s a solid company. And I get to work on diverse projects, so it’s been a great fit, just in terms of the history, and we’ve remained very busy helping companies through this crisis.

DF: And that’s a great segue into our next topic. What are some of the challenges you’re observing in healthcare right now?

PD: I think the easiest way to start to categorize it is, about a year — year and a half — ago, I noticed this trend where we were moving away from this five-year strategic planning. These little things leave clues. And we started moving towards an 18-month strategic plan. And now, truly, in this pandemic age now — as I call it — we’re doing 45 to 60 days of strategic planning. In other words, how do you keep this running? And a lot of organizations that have traditionally been some sort of outpatient or ambulatory care business in the healthcare industry, have had to adopt (whether they had previously or not) a telehealth model at some level, and some virtual care models. And I think, what’s interesting is that the industry has been evolving these technologies for many years now.

A lot of people have kind of ignored them. And the numbers of practitioners and organizations using these technologies have remained fairly small. Well, while growing each year, they’ve — I mean, I was just talking with a  primary care physician just a few weeks ago, who has a large group practice up in North Carolina. And he had never in his career used telemedicine and telehealth. And he’s literally delivering all of his cases right now via a telehealth model. And he’s said — his comment is really kind of telltale: I’ll never go backI’m never gonna go back to that kind of — I’ll call it — brick-and-mortar model.

And again, it’s not a magic bullet. It’s not a modality for a particular type. But in primary care, there’s a lot that they can cover that way, and I think you’re seeing companies coming into every aspect of healthcare with kind of disruptive business models. And there are plenty of them. This is an interesting time. One of the things that I’ve said is that in this decade that we’re currently in, I think that you’ll see more change in these next 10 years than we’ve seen in the past 100 years. Both on the science side, as well as the business administration side of healthcare. This is the decade of change.

DF: This is it. Yeah. I mean, because of COVID-19, do you foresee a lot of expectations changing from even the patients’ side of things? I mean, there’s so much that has changed already in the last few months.

PD: Oh yeah. For sure. When getting care — depending on the illness itself and the severity and acuity — patients are opting, you know, if it’s something that can be treated with telehealth, they’re utilizing that. But the other part of it too, is that a lot of people don’t wanna go outside their home, but yet they think that’s the only kind of care delivery. So a lot of people are staying away from healthcare. And I think that’s gonna cause a lot of healthcare organizations to fail during this time.

I’ve talked to a number of organizations that are literally in crisis mode that have not made really any changes. They’ve just kind of focused inwardly, as opposed to trying to innovate during this time. And we will see a significant change in the landscape of healthcare as a result of this pandemic.

DF: Yeah. I mean, it’s a — on the patient side of things — there’s been this standardized cap survey that’s been used for years. There’s a belief that there needs to be more of a focus on patient experience — understanding patients and working to enhance the patient experience. Do you believe that’s on par with what you’ve been hearing?

PD: I believe this has been the number one thing that most healthcare organizations — regardless of what part of healthcare you’re in — can really kind of miss. And everyone’s looking for competitive advantage. And I think it’s important to note that customer service — basic kind of customer service — I love Ken Blanchard’s old book called Raving Fans. Literally, if you’re trying to build a model for customer service, why not try to just impress people, where they’re gonna run out and tell their friends? We’ve all had great customer service experiences and we go tell people. But when we have a really bad experience, we go tell probably even more people. So the reality is that focusing on that — what’s interesting about healthcare is that we have become almost autotuned to the idea that we’re going to be mistreated, and it’s going to be a lousy experience, and it’s gonna be just really something that’s not necessarily appreciated, or you’re not made to feel empowered or comfortable, or any of the things you would expect. But it is an opportunity for organizations to be empathetic to the individual who has whatever the issue is that they’re using the healthcare system for, and being able to reach out. And Daniel, you know this better than anybody else, having the experience that you have. I mean, that is one of the power tools — if you will. While the technical ability is important, the ability to relate to people and make them feel like they matter and they care is the top of the pyramid for sure.

DF: Yeah. If I had to say that you have this one superpower, it’s definitely this: There are a lot of organizations that believe they’re amazing at a certain thing, right? But unless you can align the leadership team, the internal team, right? — maybe your caregivers — and then there’s what patients believe to be true as well. Through a lot of cultural initiatives that you’ve rolled out over the years, you’ve been able to accomplish these things. And I think that it’s probably more important now than ever to have some of these stronger cultural initiatives in place, right?

PD: Yeah. That’s true.

DF: Are there any tips and tricks you would give to other CEOs who are maybe looking to get started or implement some of these — maybe culture initiatives — that would help lead them into the next decade?

PD: So you said this is a seven-hour podcast, right?

DF: Haha, it can be! I’m going to draw out as much from your brain as I possibly can. That’s my primary goal.

PD: Success leaves clues always, right? But I do believe what you did yesterday doesn’t particularly matter in a high-change industry. But this one I actually think is transferable from my past. It’s that when I took over a couple of companies as CEO, I brought together the entire organization. And we’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of people. I paid them time and a half, gave them additional days off to come in on a Saturday morning to kind of hear about this cultural message. And literally presented to them for four hours, and people got involved in exercises. But it was around the idea that we’re gonna change and we’re gonna be completely different than the rest of healthcare. I always have loved the train metaphor. The healthcare industry is going east-bound. We’re making a decision today. We’re going west. So realize that it’s ok if you still wanna be on an eastbound train. By all means, there are plenty of organizations for you to be happy in. But we’re gonna go west. And here’s all the things that are gonna happen as a result, and one of those is customer service. You have to create a culture where the patient matters, where — each other — the individuals within the organization matter. You have to take care of your own first.

The healthcare workers themselves — in most parts of healthcare — the healthcare worker is a tough job. Patient care is not easy. There are probably aspects of it that are easy, but a lot of it is repetitive. But if you really take the same amount of time that you’re gonna spend in your nine to five — so to speak — why not go all-out every day? And that was kind of the culture that we created.

I think this is the reason why the company’s experienced both; I think the idea that it’s the place that you want to work if you’re in healthcare because of the culture. And secondly, it’s because of the experience and the reputation that was being built around it. And like in Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why — which was part of it — we had our why. I mean, we were gonna make a difference in healthcare. It wasn’t we’re gonna make a lot more money or we’re gonna do — the money does follow this, by the way. It just so happens it’s actually a really good formula for making money. But the reality is that you have to have something that’s much bigger than that; that you have people that believe in the same thing. Because if you don’t believe what I believe we’re not gonna get along, and you’re gonna be in a culture that’s probably going to drive you crazy.

You’d think it’s probably a little obsessive-compulsive, but the fact is that if you are in a place where you really do care deeply, that’s when kind of magical things happen. People today — even today — literally, and this has probably been, what? 10, 15 years now? Literally, I still hear from people in all the organizations I’ve had the privilege to run, all still try to stay in touch. They reflect on that as being such a profound moment in their career, and it’s really kind of pulled a bunch of people forward. And there’s people from all these companies that are now CEOs of their own companies, and they’re taking on much bigger responsibilities, but they’re using a lot of the same things they learned in these organizations.

DF: They’re running healthcare communications firms!

PD: That’s right! Exactly!

DF: Best I learned from you.

DP: That’s the evidence, right there!

DF: That’s exactly it. You know, Start With Why is a great book, if there’s anybody listening who hasn’t read that book or even watched The Golden Circle on YouTube. I mean, what a great, concrete video.

DP: Yeah. Exactly, yeah.

DF: The whyhowwhat of communications. It’s brilliant.

DP: That’s right. Yes.

DF: So let’s talk about — there’s talk about a shift from a fee-for-service to value-based care. What are your thoughts on that?

DP: Huge. The healthcare industry — especially when you look at the insurance side of healthcare — has been, frankly, screwed up for decades. Literally decades. If you think about our health insurance and the way our health insurance works. If our auto insurance worked the same way, the cost would be astronomical. Think about this. I love this. So, think about putting gas in your car. So, what you would do is you would call and get an authorization. Imagine that authorization that you get isn’t necessarily a guarantee that they’re gonna pay for it. So then you would actually go, fill up your tank, and then you would file a claim. And then, in — maybe — 30, 60, 90 days, it would come back. Maybe there was some problem and you have to refile it and whatnot. The point here is that the administrative side of the healthcare industry in this fee for service model — I did this, I didn’t do it any better than anybody else, didn’t really matter what I did, almost, I’m gonna get paid the same amount of money — is just lunacy when you think about it from a business standpoint. And, again, using my automobile metaphor, gas would be $50 a gallon if it were in the healthcare model.

DF: And the rules would change yearly, of course. There’s that.

PD: Yep. And so what’s going on now is that organizations are having to focus on that — they’re implementing the physical space mainly, first and foremost, in areas that are a lot more straightforward. Orthopedics. I mean, there’s only a certain number of ways you can do certain things and basically, the provider is on the hook for the outcome. Did [the patient] have to go back to the hospital for some infection? Or, you know, all the things that add to healthcare costs are now being placed upon the healthcare provider.

So that means — just like your auto mechanic — they’re gonna do really well. Bad mechanic, not so well. This is exactly what’s going on in healthcare. Quality matters. They’re starting to use very simple metrics around how to measure quality. Most of them focused with how do you keep the patient well? Keep them out of high-cost modalities in hospitals, long-term care, etcetera.

You’ve seen much more ambulatory, which is at a lower price point, maybe with more frequency. But the reality is that patients’ lives have also improved — at the same time you’re reducing cost. So, I mean, I think that’s really it. If you look at where some the high-cost is, it’s really —the insurance companies know this as well the governmental payers, but it really happens around high utilizers — it’s the people with high levels of acuity, regardless of the disease state. And that’s where the focus is. How do I keep them out of the emergency room? How do I follow up after they’ve been in the hospital? And things like that.

Now that burden’s been pushed down to the healthcare practitioner. But the good news is that if you do all the right things and you’re doing it well, you’ll get paid more. So the reality is that it’s no longer a pay-per-volume — it’s pay-for-quality. And that model is, again, that train has certainly left the station. It’s not turning back. So once we reach the point where healthcare is in this value-based payment model, it will be like other businesses. You’re gonna get paid for doing a great job, and you’re gonna get paid more for it.

A lot of people ask me how soon this is gonna happen, and my prediction is we’re gonna see it in the next three years. And I think the one to watch is, I think when the Medicaid system — which is again, the part of healthcare that has so many people in it. But when that moves forward and into a value-based payment model, that’s when you’ll see literally game, set, and match. So that will be a day to mark on the calendar and say fee-for-service will be dead, forever.

DF: Got it. I think the rest will follow, like dominoes.

PD: No question. Because the commercial insurance companies want it badly because it’s a model that they — they’re good at taking financial risks, and they have actuaries and people who can understand insurance risks, so, why not?

I mean, this is a perfect business model from their standpoint. So it’s a fun time to watch it, and, of course, people have asked me the question: so has COVID-19 really caused any of this to change, or are we really going to move forward with this value-based payment model? I would argue that, in some ways, we’ve actually accelerated the implementation of it. So I think it’s actually gonna be more drivers around, moving quicker, towards a value-based payment model. Because they’re starting to get rid of some of the regulatory — the interstate compact stuff. All of that is going to be important in terms of getting things aligned so that care can take place at these less expensive modalities.

DF: Right. I’m going to pull out my crystal ball here for a second and, you mentioned a little bit earlier about potentially practices failing, for whatever reason. We predict in the wake of COVID, there’s gonna be this growth through acquisition that’s going to take place. Do you think that’s true or —?

PD: I do. So, I think there will be lots of consolidation. So let me just set the framework here. There already has been a lot of consolidation in various parts of healthcare, so I don’t see that changing. What I think you’re gonna see — so there’s two phenomena that I think have happened.

One is you’ve seen a lot of virtual care products incubate. You’ve seen providers being put together. And then you see payors. Payors combining. They’re buying different specialties and whatnot. So I think in every aspect of healthcare you see the impact of mergers and acquisitions work. So I don’t think that’s gonna change any time soon.

What I think is that on the technology side — which, again, is going to be a big driver towards a lot of the change — is the idea that the smaller companies that had a niche market around maybe an employee-assistance program, or maybe it’s an urgent care replacement model for certain types of illness. Those are the ones that are gonna be bolted on to something that’s a bigger platform company. And we’re already seeing a little bit of that.

So I think there’s certainly going to be a ton of that over the next five to ten years, where you’ll see both start-ups happening still, both on the bioscience side as well as the technology side. And frankly, I’ve started to think that you’ll see a lot of failures. You’ll see primary care practices close. You’ll see mental health facilities close. You’ll see addiction facilities close. And the reason why is that the operators aren’t acting fast enough to shift to a new model because of the pandemic. And literally, sadly a lot of organizations — especially not-for-profit healthcare — not excluding hospitals, are not sitting on a bunch of cash. A lot of organizations are sitting on 30, 45 days in cash, and there are already providers — fairly sizable providers — that are literally just going out of business during this pandemic, because they can’t sustain their operations. They didn’t make the shift. I know organizations that are hundreds of millions of dollars that shifted from an outpatient brick-and-mortar model, literally within seven days, seven to eight days, to an entirely telehealth model and stood the company back up on its feet, and that short a period of time. And that takes strong leadership; that takes profound guts. It takes a belief that it’s gonna work. It takes very swift action with the payers — to make sure that they’re on board with these. I mean, there’s a lot of things that have to kind of, intuitively be part of this. But, you know, a lot of it comes back to having the right leaders on board.

DF: Wow. Speaking of being a good leader, I found that successful CEOs all enjoy reading.

PD: Yes.

DF: What is the last memorable book you’ve read? And I say that — memorable — because not all books are great. I’ve had to power through a few crappy books myself.

PD: Yeah.

DF: Because I wanted to finish, right? Are there any books you’ve read lately? I know you’re an avid reader. I don’t know how many books you’ve read over the years.

PD: Yeah. You know, I certainly have my favorites. So, other than the Bible, I would say that the one that I’ve encouraged people to read because I think it’s so relevant to today’s era is one probably written 20 years ago. It’s entitled something like What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

DF: Ah, yes.

PD: And the premise is — especially for CEOs or leaders in organizations — that they tend to rest on the laurels of something that happened that was really great, again, in a time that now has become irrelevant. And rather than changing and realizing that they have to reinvent themselves and reinvent their organizations, they just rest on those laurels. And they die. And so their organizations die because they’ve been — you can sit around and pat yourself on the back all day — but the reality is that it was just a moment in time.

You have to move on and develop new experiences. So, that would be one book, certainly. It’s one of my favorites of all time. Again, I mentioned Ken Blanchard’s book, Raving Fans. It’s a book, I remember originally reading in one evening. It was late evening, but it’s one of those ones that you can’t put it down because it makes so much sense. You think, oh, I could apply all this simple stuff pretty easily.

DF: Is this the book where the server goes to get a Coke from the store down the street, because the restaurant only serves Pepsi, or something? It’s — I’m trying to remember.

PD: There’s plenty of examples in there that — yeah, I mean, there’s tons of examples. In recent months there hasn’t been a lot of business books that kind of lit me up — something that I said, oh my gosh, something profoundly new to read here. I tend to probably gravitate more towards really trying to understand concepts now. There’s authors certainly I like. I mean, Simon Sinek is one — certainly one of those, and he’s actually got a book coming out, where he’s, in the upcoming month, I think. So there are some things I’m looking forward to reading right now; but nothing I would say in the past several months that I would stand and advocate for. But don’t miss the classics. I mean, if you’ve not read a bunch of business books, there’s certainly a number of — I think on Amazon, I have my top 100. I haven’t updated in years, but top 100  books that I recommend, and that’s probably a good place to start.

DF: You’ll have to send us a link to that.

PD: Yeah. Will do.

DF: Yeah. I mean. It’s — I feel like we’ve had a few conversations with other CEOs so far, and it just seems everybody’s — they’re a little stressed, right? Because they’re all trying to navigate these waters. What are you doing to stay — to keep sane?

PD: Well,  there’s a lot of things to keep you sane. Part of it is to take care of yourselves. Your physical health is a critical component of that. And your mental health, you know, get enough sleep, don’t don’t do anything excessive.

We’ve seen the alcohol companies have certainly done well in this pandemic age. And sadly, I think we’ll be dealing with some addiction issues on the other side of it. You have to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. And really, make sure that you’re doing all of the simple stuff that we know better. Drinking water. I mean — really a key component of it. Get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not gonna be effective. You’re not gonna be able to be alert — especially in those opportune moments.

The one thing that I talk to CEOs all the time — that I think it’s really important for people to understand is — it’s a lonely job. So, even with your strong management team, you really don’t have someone you can be completely transparent with; where you go, “you know, I just had one of those days, and it really sucked.”

CEOs have to be fairly optimistic — or they should be optimistic. But also, they can’t be completely, you know, when you’re in over your head with an issue — I mean, there are lots of ways you handle it. You can call a consultant, or whatever the case may be, but the reality is that you struggle with that decision a lot because you feel like you should be able to do whatever that task is — be able to have a better understanding of that, and sometimes you sometimes come across things you just don’t have the experience for, and that’s where you have to fill that gap quickly.

That’s where a lot of CEOs really become very depressed when they realize that they don’t have all the answers. Especially if they’ve grown an organization and it’s ramping up and it’s growing like crazy. There’s a point where people literally should be either strengthening the people around them or firing themselves. Maybe the company needs a different CEO to get it to the next level. And there’s a lot of ego into that, but that’s a lot of churning that happens internally.

Even with strong boards, it’s hard to go up to them saying “here are all the things I’m battling with”. I mean, CEOs can’t do that. I mean, yes you can, but the vulnerability is just a big deal. So having that kind of confidante — if you will — is really, really important. Either a peer or a peer group — that kind of helps you be engaged and have them see some of the vulnerability because they’re dealing with some of the same issues.

DF: Yeah, and that’s something that’s been echoed by several CEOs we’ve talked to. I mean, it is very much a lonely position.

PD: Yeah.

DF: And knowing that people can grasp on to every word that comes out of your mouth, too, and potentially take it out of context. So there’s a lot of pressure on CEOs today.

PD: Yeah. Especially the ones who have to be in front of the media — which can be a circus. That’s a very vulnerable position to be in sometimes because you could’ve not said something or meant something, and the media runs with it, and it ends up being a disaster. That can really cause a distraction that can sometimes be very harmful to an organization, too. Lots of things, lots of things. Lots of pressure.

DF: Yeah. And that’s one of the things we work on the communications side. I mean, sometimes a CEO will come to us and they’ll ask how they should respond to something — maybe it’ll be on social media or whatever the case may be. And sometimes, they should just not engage, because it can be taken out of context and people could run with it. So it just really depends on the situation, but, in this day and age, when everyone’s being transparent and open and honest and sharing everything on social media, you have to be very careful.

PD: Right. That’s right. I’m glad you brought this up because I think it’s important — you asked me earlier about the secret sauce or the elements of success and I think that is one that, I would say, a bunch of work is outsourced to communications and marketing firms that 1,000% knew more, and we didn’t need a gigantic marketing department. We needed to rent one that was incredibly brilliant, incredibly engaged, that could communicate messages, deal with the media, etcetera, etcetera. And that was definitely a huge, huge part of the success of these organizations.

DF: Yeah, yeah. Beautiful. Is there anything else that we didn’t cover, or anything you would like to tell CEOs that are listening to this podcast?

PD: Anything that I wanna tell them.

DF: Yeah. Any advice?

PD: I guess what I would want to tell them is to be encouraged, and take care of yourself, first and foremost. Every CEO has something of tremendous value. Whenever I’m in front of a leader, regardless of the situation they’re in, I love hearing the stories of their career, because, again, I think success leaves clues.

Sometimes you can’t replicate exactly what happened in the past, but there’s a lot of commonality to success. But, again, don’t lean on that success that happened five, 10, 15 years ago, because, again, the healthcare industry is the change industry.

We are going through a massive, massive shift. Innovate the daylights out of your operations. Innovate everywhere you can, and be bold. Take bold measures to change your organization. And if you don’t know how to do that, reach out and grab a hold of somebody who does, or at least can advise you and your organization on the kind of moves that you need to make that will create a new dynamic. Maybe it’s a new culture, or maybe a new initiative. Maybe it’s mergers and acquisitions. How do you put these companies together? Maybe you don’t have that experience. How do you partner with health systems in your locale? How do you negotiate with payers in the value-based payment world? What do I need to do to get ready for a value-based payment world? All of these things are pressure points for CEOs and leaders. And I think that’s — my encouragement would be — that you don’t have to know it all. I’m constantly voraciously studying these topics because people are looking at me for this kind of advice. Where a lot of CEOs are — they’re running to organizations kind of day today and a lot of times you can’t even lift your head up to see what some of the new trends are — and seeing the trends is important.

DF: Yeah. I agree. I can’t think of a better way to end than that. I mean, that is beautifully well said.

[Outro]: Thank you for listening to the Healthcare CEO Podcast. And be sure to catch our next show, where we’ll interview other industry-leading healthcare CEOs and executives as they look to shape the future of healthcare.