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Health Care Leadership: More Than Wishful Thinking

By Derek Feeley | Thursday, August 28, 2014

Derek Feeley is Executive Vice President at IHI. He invites you to follow him on Twitter @derekfeeleyIHI


Have you ever wished that you could get some of the world’s leading thinkers and experts to spend some time on the challenges that are on your plate today? Just think about what you could gain in expertise from your peers in the US and across the globe.

I’ve often thought that while the challenges of leading in health care have never been greater or more complex, there are two beacons of promise:

  •  First, more or less, we are all facing a similar set of challenges.
  • Second, someone, somewhere, is probably holding an answer right now that you need.

These two points mean that many of the solutions we need will be similar, and that we can all share and progress if we get together. Here at IHI we have come up with a design to fulfill those wishes.


To start, we will convene the inaugural meeting of the IHI Leadership Alliance on October 6-7 in Cambridge, MA. Over 30 organizations have already signed up to work together and find innovative solutions to the challenges facing health care leaders. The members of the IHI Leadership Alliance will employ a set of innovation strategies and tools to identify, test, refine, and present possible solutions. Teams will use their own knowledge, input from a field of industry contacts, and worldwide interaction via social media to develop working theories on solutions. By the end of this first meeting, the aim is to develop a new network of peers with working knowledge of IHI’s innovation process. Members will return home with a plan for testing and continuous collaboration.

The big questions we will be tackling as part of the IHI Leadership Alliance are these:

  1. How can leaders create an organizational culture to achieve reliability, safety, and continuous improvement?
  2. What changes can we make to ensure that integration and coordination are the hallmarks of the health care system?
  3. How can we design an approach to optimize the role of physicians in improvement initiatives at the point of care?
  4. What must be done to make the case for transparent quality reports, and how can we design a protocol to help guide health care leaders in their journey towards transparency?
  5. What would it take to genuinely make people, patients, and families feel like they are partners in their own care?

Why don’t you join us as we find a path to solutions? You can do that in a number of ways:

  • Join the IHI Leadership Alliance October meeting in person or via Twitter.
  • Attend the 26th Annual IHI National Forum, taking place in Orlando, FL, on December 7-10. Here, members of the IHI Leadership Alliance will meet for the second time. At this event, we’ll start to explore the most promising solutions to the big challenges listed above.
  • Post your comments on your struggles (and, of course, any solutions you may have) in the comments section below. What other challenges are you confronting from your leadership standpoint? I look forward to reading and responding to your thoughts.

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