TOP 10: Most Influential Physician Executives of 2015
Every year, Modern Healthcare compiles a list of the most influential physician leaders. This year’s ballot was composed of 150 names based on nominations from readers (a total of 23,000 ballots were submitted).
As in previous years, readers’ votes counted for 50 percent of the outcome while the other 50 percent was based on the opinions of senior editors at the brand to determine the final ranking.
The following names made it to the top of the list.
10. Gary Kaplan
Dr. Gary Kaplan has been CEO and chairman of the Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle since 2000. Kaplan, 63, is a practicing internist and chairman of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s board. He pioneered the standardization of health care procedures by developing a customized version of the Toyota Production System.
9. Charles Sorensen
Dr. Charles Sorenson has been president and CEO of Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare since 2008, where he oversees a network that includes 22 hospitals, more than 185 clinics and 1,100 physicians. A board-certified urologic surgeon, Sorenson has served as chairman of the committee on young surgeons for the American College of Surgeons, president of the Utah Urologic Society and as speaker of the House of Delegates of the Utah Medical Association.
8. Karen DeSalvo
Dr. Karen DeSalvo, 49, is the fifth physician to be named head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, serving in that role since early 2014. Before her appointment at ONC, DeSalvo was the health commissioner for New Orleans and senior health policy adviser for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
7. James Madara
Dr. James Madara is executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association, serving in those roles since 2011. A pathologist by training, Madara is recognized as an authority on epithelial cell biology and gastrointestinal disease. Madara has served as president of the American Board of Pathology, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Pathology, and is a past recipient of a prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health.
6. John Noseworthy
Dr. John Noseworthy has been president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic since 2009. A neurologist by training, Noseworthy, 63, is widely known for his two decades of research in multiple sclerosis. Since joining the Mayo Clinic in 1990, Noseworthy has held several leadership positions, including chair of Mayo’s Department of Neurology, chair of the Science Committee of the American Academy of Neurology in 2006, and he served a stint as editor-in-chief of the journal Neurology.
5. Jonathan Perlin
Dr. Jonathan Perlin serves as president of clinical services and chief medical officer at HCA, the country’s largest hospital chain by revenue. Before joining the Nashville-based company in 2006, Perlin, 54, was undersecretary for health at the Veterans Affairs Department, the VA’s top healthcare post.
4. Atul Gawande
Dr. Atul Gawande is a best-selling author, Harvard professor, surgeon and public health researcher. Gawande, who practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, wrote the New York Times best-selling books “Complications,” “Better,” and “The Checklist Manifesto,” which promoted the idea of using checklists to prevent medical errors. Gawande, 49, is also executive director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation.
3. Thomas Frieden
Since 2009, Dr. Thomas Frieden has served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the nation’s health protection agency. He leads initiatives that help the U.S. to reduce the impact of chronic diseases, and to prepare for, rapidly detect and respond quickly to infectious diseases, food-bourne illnesses and other potential outbreaks. Frieden, 54, also worked as a CDC epidemic intelligence service officer in New York City and is a former commissioner of the city’s health department.
2. Richard Gilfillan
Dr. Richard Gilfillan became president and CEO of Trinity Health in 2013, the same year the Livonia, Mich.-based system finalized the combination of Trinity Health and Catholic Health East. Gilfillan, 65, joined Trinity after stepping down as director of the CMS’ Innovation Center, the Affordable Care Act laboratory for new healthcare delivery models that was launched with Gilfillan as its first director in 2010.
1. Robert Watcher
Dr. Robert Wachter, 57, is associate chairman of the department of medicine and chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, where he has been practicing since 1995. One year later, he became widely known for coining the term “hospitalist” and forecasting the ensuing boom of inpatient medicine specialists.
How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats
One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority. In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.
The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics.
From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world.
The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years.
This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate.
Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.
To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care.
Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change.
It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device.
These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.
Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement:
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.
In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.
Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents.
Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.
This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents.
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.
Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.
As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.
Fighting future threats
With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.
To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced.
This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.