For decades, U.S. hospital administrators and medical professionals have operated within a challenging, rapidly changing and fragmented healthcare system. Today, this environment is even more complex as sweeping healthcare reform and market forces transform the way healthcare is delivered and managed.

This profound shift is both structural and cultural. New alliances and unlikely partnerships are beginning to emerge. Belief systems, values, and attitudes are shifting. Creative thinking and agile, adaptive leadership will be required to make hospitals, health systems, and networks sustainable as the healthcare delivery landscape transforms.

As this unknown future state unfolds, one thing is a given: Incremental responses will not be enough. The competencies required of leaders and their organizations must continue to evolve in order for both to thrive.

Rapid innovation and adaptation to change require a collaborative, interdependent culture and solutions that cut across function, region, and profession. Leaders must learn to shift away from the “individual expert” model so common in today’s healthcare systems and move towards a model that leverages cross-boundary groups and teams and spans disciplines, levels, functions, generations, and professions.

These new collaborative groups will be able to integrate knowledge throughout the system and to anticipate and solve unprecedented challenges – all while delivering efficient, high-quality, compassionate patient care across the continuum.

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