Population Health Public Health

100 Most Influential People in Healthcare?

Most of us know to be somewhat suspect of the many lists and rankings that are published in our industry. I’ve appeared on a few lists, as has my blog. I’ve also developed strategies to help client healthcare organizations secure places on these lists. There is a clear benefit to appearing on a list with other highly respected organizations and individuals. I get it. But honestly, there’s a part of me that believes that most of these lists are fodder for institutionalized narcissism. That may be harsh; but ask yourself, what purpose do they serve?

For me, it is telling to read through Modern Healthcare‘s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. The list is predictable. I believe that I could compile this list on my own each year and I would get at least 80 of the 100 people correct. Truly, just include the CEOs of the top 30 to 40 health systems and the top 10 insurance companies. That gives you at least 40 right there. Include the names of top government officials heading up key government departments (CMS, FDA, the President, HHS) and you’ve made even more progress. Then round out the list with leaders from top technology companies and innovators in the field.

By the way, I was surprised Warren Buffett didn’t make the list. After all, Jeff Bezos was on there. I was also surprised that Bill Gates was overlooked. Bill Gates and Atul Gawande have done some really important work together. From my perspective, it was also an oversight to not include Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Vice President, Connected Health at Partners Healthcare. Joe’s work and writing have impacted so many in the Health IT/Connected Health sector.

In this post, I want to mention what’s missing from the list. When you look at what’s missing you start to get a good idea of what’s wrong with healthcare in America. So, what’s missing or not significantly represented?

  • Patient leaders and patient advocates. People like Regina Holliday, Dave deBronkart, Alicia Staley, etc. It seems very difficult to fix healthcare in our country without having patients involved in the conversation.
  • Any number of public health leaders. (George Benjamin made the list!) I’m thinking about thought leaders from National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and The Public Health Foundation (PHF).
  • Many of the leaders and innovators in population health management. Granted, many of the people on the list are involved in shaping population health programs for their organizations and communities. However, the following organizations are doing amazing work in the trenches and deserve to be mentioned: The Practical Playbook, The Colorado Health Foundation, The de Beaumont Foundation, The Episcopal Health Foundation, Interact for Health, The Kresge Foundation, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Telligen Community Initiative, and The W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
  • Leaders from Critical Access Hospitals and rural health systems. These voices need to be represented.

If we’re going to change healthcare in America, we need to change the way we look at healthcare. Right now, organizations like Modern Healthcare view healthcare as being shaped by the industry’s establishment and power elite. (Granted, this list was determined by industry peers and the editors of Modern Healthcare.) I believe that fundamental change has to begin at the community level through the collaboration of public health organizations, community organizations, and local provider organizations. Within these initiatives, the partner organizations can take action to reduce health disparities and identify opportunities for improving community health. It should be evident that these are not health system solutions or health insurance company solutions, they are community solutions that grow out of innovative partnerships on the local level. I would love to see the people leading these partnerships to be thought of as the real influencers and disrupters shaping the future of healthcare. That is the paradigm shift that we need!

What do you think?

2 comments on “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare?

  1. Interesting and informative article.

    I do find them influential. Especially the philanthropists 🙂

  2. Pingback: Modern Healthcare Got It Right – The Healthcare Marketer

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