When reporting on a meeting as rich and robust as this week’s Center for Healthcare Governance Symposium, the challenge is to do justice to the participants — and to the wisdom they shared — within the limited format of a blog like this. It would be impossible to share everything I’ve heard here in Phoenix, but these are a few thought-provoking comments I scribbled down over the last couple of days:

Deborah Bowen, president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives, in a presentation about FutureScan 2016–2021 written by various authors and produced by ACHE and the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development of the American Hospital Association:

The pace of health care change is accelerating: 81 percent of managers in health care perceive themselves to be at or near the change saturation point.

Change management is difficult: 70 percent of change management efforts fail because of employee resistance or poor management support.

“Are we at the tipping point when it comes to change? I don’t know. The question is moot. The fact is, we are on the journey to accountable care.”

• Governance expert Jamie Orlikoff:

 “I keep hearing how depressing all this change is in health care. The only people who are depressed are those in traditional, legacy health care. Everybody else is clamoring to get into the field.”

You think you are competing with the health system across town, “but it’s the competitors below your radar that you are most vulnerable to.” Example: the demise of Blockbuster when Netflix suddenly disrupted that business model. “They never saw it coming.”

“If you do not disrupt your own business, you will be disrupted.”

Todd W. Fitz, senior vice president of Kaufman, Hall & Associates:

“The paucity of innovation has created significant risk for health systems. As new technologies develop, ill-prepared health systems will likely fall into the legacy trap.”

“Some leaders say, ‘We don’t want to innovate, we want to be fast followers. We’re not going to design these new things, but we’re going to adopt them quickly.’ The question is, how quickly can you realistically do that?”

“You have to think about the pace of change that’s right for your organization. But beware: If you’re slow, it’s really hard to catch up. You may be damaged.”     

Rich Umbdenstock, president emeritus of the American Hospital Association:

“I believe there will always be hospitals. We will always need the concentration of acuity care capabilities within a facility. Certainly, we will reduce the reliance on acute care, but we’ll never eliminate the need for it.”

That said, “We need to redefine the hospital. In addition to acute care, what services will we provide, how and where?”

“We need to stop seeing the closing of beds and services as a loss, but rather as improving the ROI to all our stakeholders.”

Brian Muirhead, chief engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and author of High Velocity Leadership:

 “In rapid decisionmaking, there’s always a chance you’ll make a mistake. That’s OK as long as you’re willing to acknowledge the mistake and make a course correction.”

“Leadership is both glue and grease. Glue means you bring together a team to define a problem, find a solution and implement the solution. Grease means you don’t stick to the playbook, you rewrite it.”

“Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.”