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Healthcare leader should be grounded in social realities

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In the traditional healthcare space, healthcare delivery organisations were driven by individual
doctors as its leaders. The success of the institution depended on the healthcare leader’s ability to learn, understand and cater to the demands of the patients.

Today, the leader is expected to understand and assess the capacity of the workforce, deal with business partners, stakeholders and be aligned to societal expectations. Imagine a situation where the leader has not defined the expectations, values, ethics for the organisation. This will lead to a situation where the workforce is directionless. Hence, the leader needs to guide the team appropriately. However, there is definitely more to it when it comes to today’s dynamic healthcare sector.

Main goal to serve the people
There are various elements that differentiate healthcare leaders from others. Firstly, since the sector deals with human lives every day, it is imperative that an individual at leadership position possesses empathy, sympathy, compassion and at the same time being passionate to cater to the patients through the healthcare services while pursuing business growth. The passion to serve patients
remains paramount, as this helps being attached to a strong purpose to serve the society. The term widely used for this quality is servant leadership- which indicates that the main purpose of the healthcare leader is to serve the society. This quality is different and unique to healthcare sector, as a leader is not majorly focussed on competitions and focusing on highest sales. Here, the servant leadership in healthcare indicates attitude and passion to serve, while focusing on business growth.
One of the important requirements for a leader in healthcare is to assure that “Profit is a byproduct and not the aim” – unlike any other business. Moreover, this passion to serve will also help in staying aligned with organisation’s vision of serving the patients and working on the hospital’s competitive
environment and focusing on improving the services for the patients. Parallelly, this quality should be supported by helping people realise their dreams and be a part of preparing future leaders.

The socially aligned leader
The healthcare leader needs to be grounded in social realities and cognizant of the evolving policy environment. The healthcare sector is highly regulated and this also keeps the sector under constant media glare. Across the globe, healthcare remains a key priority for governments. Even in India, there are policy developments – right from medical education to healthcare insurance – and a constantly evolving societal narrative about healthcare. Healthcare organisations are primarily driven by the core vision of ensuring healthy communities i.e healthy societies. This vision drives the quality of services rendered and health outcomes for individuals and communities, not just tangible inpatient and outpatient numbers. There is a requirement for a healthcare leader to focus on CSR as a major responsibility.

The technology savvy leader
In this era of technological disruption in healthcare, the leadership involves envisioning a strategy and a clear implementation model to ensure a highly-personalised patient care. Unless and until the leader is in the forefront of technology with insight into digital transformation through Big Data Capturing & Analysis, Applying AI on data etc. they will be thrown out of the business. He also has to capture ways to bring healthcare to the homes of people through various methods like tele-medicine, home monitoring, chronic disease management, e-ICU etc. It becomes important that a leader understands the technological wave entering the healthcare sector and gradually transform to adapt and adopt the technological advancements.

The culturally aware leader
In today’s globalised world, a healthcare leader should also possess understanding of the varied markets. This is especially important in GCC and India with its geographical diversities, cultural nuances and religious practices. Each market has its own uniqueness and flavour, hence
operating in each market has its own advantages and limitations. The healthcare leaders must be aware of this and employ local population.

Gone are the days when leaders were prepared for certain situations common to all the sectors. With the changing times, every sector is growing and witnessing transformation at its own pace. Similar is the case with the healthcare industry which is witnessing a transformation. Presently, the healthcare sector of India is at an exciting stage of growth and advancement and to be able to play significant role healthcare leaders require a forward thinking vision, supported by fast adaptation to new skills.

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