About the Book

Through the chapters in this book, we have striven to provide content of value for healthcare professionals who want to react to complex, disruptive, contemporary challenges with the speed and confidence of people who have been there previously. We regard collaboration as the holy grail that allows dedicated servant leaders to rise above the burdens of being asked to work harder and accomplish more with fewer resources to the excitement of engaging in the daily battle to make a difference in patients’ and their families’ lives.

  • Jeff Fried’s chapter on saving lives by improving processes of care highlights the occasionally frustrating but always rewarding journey on which healthcare leaders embark when something inside gnaws at them that clinical outcomes could and should be better. He reveals how depersonalizing differences and finding common ground can save patients’ lives.
  • Carl Taylor applies his experience from the disasters in Haiti and the Gulf Coast to help healthcare leaders plan for an uncertain future.
  • Chuck Rinker’s three decades of practice in Montana showcase the dilemmas that rural surgeons face in trying to adopt new standards of care for the approximately 30% of US patients who receive care in rural settings.
  • Gary Yates and Carol Sale generously share the secrets of how to improve healthcare outcomes by strengthening the organizational safety culture.
  • Phil Newbold and Diane Stover describe a bold experiment to tithe a portion of annual revenue toward innovation and the dividends that result in terms of improved people, processes, and outcomes of care.
  • Natalia Wilson, Anand Joshi, and Gene Schneller reveal ways that hospitals of all sizes can collaborate to reduce supply costs, typically the second largest expense after labor.
  • Bob Hendler describes the opportunities created with healthcare reform legislation for partnering with physicians to capture the care of patients in the medical record and the revenue that may be lost with incomplete documentation.
  • Mike Hogue and Drew Erra provide insight into the complex world of ED-call pay and the opportunities for hospitals and physicians to move beyond ransom to incorporate new programs that improve transparency and build trust.
  • Ed O’Connor, Barry Mann, and Marlena Fiol describe how physicians improved their medical record compliance to over 99% under the banner of solving leadership challenges.
  • Ralph Jacobson writes about two feuding bureaucracies that broke down barriers to coordinating patient care by framing their differences as a paradox with which they could live rather than a problem that they could not solve.
  • Bob Reid summarizes decades of experience as a physician executive using a process of structured dialogue with a Medical Advisory Panel composed of physician champions who helped their hospital increase revenue, cut expenses, accelerate patient throughput, and improve clinical outcomes.
  • Stan Mandel and Susan Philips highlight the turnaround of operating room performance, morale, and safety by persuading team members to “get on the bus.”
  • Susan Lapenta, Larry Harmon, and Mel Belding describe the steps that all healthcare organizations can and must take to address disruptive behavior.
  • Elizabeth Becker and Ashley Wendel summarize the lessons learned coaching a dysfunctional cardiothoracic surgery unit to improved team performance
  • Joel Berman and Michael Green, who began the healthcare information technology journey in 1997, summarize the lessons that they have learned to accelerate physician adoption.

Finally, William Thompson and his team at SSM highlight what works in a variety of healthcare settings to facilitate physician integration, especially where physicians do not desire hospital employment.

We have pushed our chapter authors to fit their wisdom into a comprehensive framework that highlights their journey in a case presentation and distills the lessons learned into a multi-step sidebar. We sincerely hope that the benefits to organizations that need to get up to speed rapidly outweigh the occasional chafing that occurred in the process.

About the Authors

Kenneth H. Cohn

Dr. Kenneth Cohn

Dr. Kenneth Cohn

Kenneth H. Cohn, MD, MBA, FACS, is a practicing general surgeon and the CEO of HealthcareCollaboration.

Mission of HealthcareCollaboration

To serve the needs of dedicated healthcare professionals who want to work more interdependently to improve clinical and financial performance.


To be the go-to organization that stands out in the minds of physicians, healthcare leaders, nurses, and board members who want to collaborate to improve care for their communities.

Our Values

  • Service: as measured by exceeding client expectations and producing delight with the outcomes of our interactions that solve complex problems
  • Integrity: as measured by promises made are promises kept and that data provided are true and kept confidential
  • Passion: as measured by intensity of energy, spirit, and commitment to achieve outstanding, transformative results
  • Creativity and innovation: as measured by willingness to examine and challenge limiting assumptions in a prudent manner that supports people’s self-esteem and builds on their desire to improve the practice environment where they work and to leave a lasting legacy
  • Humor: as measured by a fluid perspective that takes the work more seriously than ourselves

Dr. Cohn has been mentoring physicians in leadership development since 1999. He has written or edited three other books and over 45 peer-reviewed articles.

Steven A. Fellows

Steven A. Fellows, FACHE, is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Cottage Health System in Santa Barbara, California. He is also an adjunct instructor in the Health Services Administration Program at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. In his role as a thought leader in healthcare administration, he has evaluated programs in the United States, Vietnam, Armenia, and Nagorno Karabakh Republic.