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July 12, 2016 Article 1 min read
Many organizations are innovating — learning to manage risk and thinking differently about what success means in terms of patient experiences and outcomes. The pioneers at the leading edge share these common traits.

From locally based senior living facilities to the largest health systems in the country, pioneering organizations are breaking new ground.

They are learning to manage risk and thinking differently about what success means for patient experiences and outcomes. Many of their initiatives are not for the faint of heart.

These organizations share certain common traits, which might help guide your own organization to success.

Passion for the communities they serve 

healthcare touches each of us. Leaders of healthcare organizations can make a direct and lasting impact on people’s lives every single day, so healthcare attracts leaders to whom a community orientation is simply a way of life. When we set this community-mindedness at the center of all we do, we can make decisions that fulfill our goals of better health, better care, and lower costs.

Facility operators, I cannot emphasize this enough: Your revenues represent someone else's costs.

Tolerance for failure

Failed initiatives often give insights that we can reapply and refine with future endeavors. Leaders who aren’t afraid to fail are driving many innovations in healthcare. They set the pace and the example for everyone else.

Implicit in this tolerance for failure is a long-term orientation. Whether their organization is for-profit or nonprofit, strong leaders don’t let short-term goals impede the organization’s larger mission.

Collaboration

Traditional approaches to operations and strategy are falling woefully short in the new world of healthcare delivery and payment. We have to think differently, and we have to partner differently — with competitors, with health systems, even with disruptors like Uber.

Think you could never partner with competitors? Consider: What community health improvements could you achieve by working with competitors and other nontraditional partners, rather than following old models? And yes, also clearly understand the risks.

While every healthcare organization is someplace different on the journey, we are all working toward a common goal: to manage patients through episodes of care as efficiently as possible with the best possible outcome.

Many organizations are rapidly shifting these concepts from boardroom or C-suite intellectual discussions into practical application through initiatives such as wellness clinics, care navigators, telehealth, and mobile health apps. Don’t let these more innovative organizations outpace you.