I am incredibly excited to return to San Diego as moderator for the 25th annual American Hospital Association Leadership Summit.  Once again we have an incredible lineup of speakers and breakout sessions. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing four themes.

  1. Leadership: The opening keynote by retired Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will set the stage for the central theme of leadership that weaves through the entire summit. In learning-track sessions we will hear from experts in the health care field who are leading change as board members, CEOs, clinicians and improvement professionals.
  2. The big picture: Across the globe, elections are redefining national and international agendas, while here at home, debates over economic and health care policy continue. Rana Foroohar from CNN will provide her expert analysis of the big picture. This will be fascinating.
  3. Innovation: A central theme of the conference is innovation in a time of high change. The summit will explore a number of threads in the innovation story, including the promise of disruptive technology, which will be featured in Nicholas Webb’s keynote; the power of going upstream to the social determinants of health, to be showcased in a keynote by Rishi Manchanda, M.D.; and new models of payment and care that will be featured in the tremendous range of learning-track sessions featuring lessons from the field.
  4. Purpose: Given the great uncertainty about policy and payment, coverage and care, we will take the opportunity at the summit to remind ourselves of the high purpose of health care to help the sick and vulnerable. Abraham Verghese, M.D., will close the meeting with an inspiring keynote that calls on us to remember the reasons that brought us all to health care, and he will explain how leaders and clinicians can rediscover the humanity of care, even as they strive for efficiency in the era of Lean.

Each of these themes will help leaders identify fresh perspectives and learn new approaches to managing change in a complex, volatile and uncertain environment. Each year, attendees learn from each other at keynotes and learning-track sessions and tell stories of how their organizations are coping and adapting in a time of high change. This year's event will be particularly helpful, as we are on the cusp of major policy debates, the emergence of dazzling new technologies and the challenges of care for an aging society.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the policy of the American Hospital Association.