• By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA | kbarlow@barlowmccarthy.com Right wrong or otherwise, we all make snap judgments when we meet new people. Last week I needed help from an airline gate agent and here’s what happened: I approached the counter ready to beg, cajole and flaunt my frequent flyer status as I wanted to get home on an earlier flight. As I approached the counter, the gate agent looked up immediately, smiled and asked how she could help in a warm and engaging way. She listened fully to my request and then said, “Let’s see what we can do to make that happen.” The interaction was all of three minutes and yet, it left me feeling positive, I know her name

    Feb 01,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, MAH | jcowart@barlowmccarthy.com The beginning of a new year, the launch of a new goal, a significant change in direction – all of these are opportunities for reflection on where we’ve been and where we’re going. Usually, this reflection is accompanied by resolutions, declarations of new direction, and a burst of new energy. Too often, however, this process quickly devolves into disruption at the hands of the mundane, the heavy tug of the status quo, and the loss of traction toward our new goals. Then the malaise and disappointment of failure starts to hover and nag. Why is this cycle so familiar? The truth is, the cycle has nothing to do with our good intentions nor our

    Jan 25,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, MAH Nick van Terheyden, a healthcare technology futurist, writing in a recent edition of Fast Company’s Co.Exist cites three transformation trends to watch: Technology that works for physicians instead of against them The consumerization of health care Fewer patients waiting in hospitals All of these, in the way van Terheyden describes them, promise to have an impact on the way physicians work, and how the traditional hospital-based care systems create alignment and engagement opportunities. In Trend 1 van Terheyden, a physician, talks about the drop-down and click dysfunction of most electronic medical record systems from the physician point of view. He says a future of “mobile virtual assistants, like Siri, but built with medical-specific speech recognition, language

    Aug 30,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA As far as buzz words go, “value” is a biggie in health care today. In fact, the focus of most strategy sessions has shifted from “volume” to “value,” and yet there doesn't seem to be a clear path to “value.” Clearly, healthcare providers strive to add value to every patient’s experience, every time. However, the scores do not show progress. Maybe the key to putting measurements around value is to start having more personal conversations about value. Here’s what I’m talking about, a few questions to get the conversations rolling: What should a field sales call or recruitment call include when the goal is mutual respect? How has difficult case you've had in the last

    Aug 20,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, BMc Consultant A recent article in the New York Times carried the headline, “New Laws and Rising Costs Create a Surge of Supersizing Hospitals.” The article noted that the U.S. is seeing a wave of mergers, with much more activity expected over the next 5-7 years. The merger movement is being driven by “a confluence of powerful forces” according to the NYT, not the least of which are the demands of the Affordable Care Act, changing economics, and the imperatives for traditional hospitals and health care systems to manage the health of populations. Having served on the merger team for one system several years ago, and working now with clients expected to complete a merger over the

    Aug 15,
  • By: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA Each week, I am blessed to work with different organizations across the country. And each week, I am struck by the fact that leaders in organizations – regardless of location, size, or type – are hungry to hear about solutions to the challenge of engagement. Really talented people  are wondering how best to engage the physicians in new initiatives that go beyond the delivery of optimal healing experiences and begin to move toward the increasingly important goal of population health management. The neat part is that leading organizations that are taking on elements of the challenge and they are willing to talk about it.  Reading about it is OK, but hearing first-hand is better as

    Aug 09,
  • By: Jeff Cowart, BMc Consultant I was intrigued by the headlines in the newspapers this morning about the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, acquiring one of the icons of American journalism, The Washington Post. Newspapers are my old industry and I've lived through and watched them essentially lose the community information franchise they once owned, primarily because early on the leaders who were just too comfortable in old world models could not foresee how money could be made on the internet. For the past dozen years, I've worked in the traditional model of hospitals and healthcare delivery. And, as our industry transitions into population health management, consumer-directed care, and telemedicine – just to name a few trends – I can’t

    Aug 06,