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Summit in Seattle: American Hospital Association conference kicks off


With topics such as finances, the workforce, and cybersecurity, healthcare leaders will find scores of fascinating conversations. Chief Healthcare Executive is in Seattle for the conference.

Seattle - The city of Seattle is famous for its coffee, but some of the buzz this week will come from the hospital industry.

The American Hospital Association Leadership Summit takes place in Seattle. The conference kicks off Sunday and runs through Tuesday. (Image credit: ©kalafoto - stock.adobe.com)

The American Hospital Association Leadership Summit takes place in Seattle. The conference kicks off Sunday and runs through Tuesday. (Image credit: ©kalafoto - stock.adobe.com)

Healthcare leaders from across the country are heading to Seattle for the American Hospital Association Leadership Summit. The annual conference kicks off today and runs through Tuesday.

About 1,200 hospital and health system executives, including CEOs and other decision-makers, are expected to attend the conference, says Colleen Kincaid, vice president of media relations and strategy for the American Hospital Association.

Expect plenty of conversations about financial stability and the workforce, “which we know are the two big challenges facing hospitals and health systems right now,” Kincaid says.

The leadership summit will also feature sessions on behavioral health and helping workers maintain their mental health.

Kincaid pointed to “good sessions on what burnout for a physician looks like and how do you care for them, and how do we improve behavioral health support for our caregivers inside our hospitals.”

The conference will also include discussions about violence in healthcare and what needs to be done to protect workers. Many physicians and nurses say they’ve seen more assaults and abuse since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cybersecurity experts will also lead a session outlining the threat landscape. More health systems are suffering cyberattacks, and in the past week, HCA Healthcare reported an apparent theft of data affecting as many as 11 million patients.

Other sessions include healthcare quality, improving patient safety, and incorporating sustainability in health systems. The Joint Commission will be leading a conversation on improving care quality.

The conference also looks to inspire conversations and ideas for healthcare leaders as they look at long-term planning for their organizations, which many weren’t able to do during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s planning for the future,” Kincaid says. “It’s a return to a bigger conversation about transformation and innovation and on every level of what the experience is inside a health system.”

The conference will also be giving attention to health equity, as hospitals and health systems look to close disparities in care for minority groups, those with low incomes and rural communities. Some sessions will also include discussions on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in healthcare organizations.

About 10% of those expected to attend are CEOs of health systems, and nearly half hold C-suite roles or titles of vice president or higher.

The conference also includes several well-known keynote speakers, including Amy Webb, founder and chief executive officer of the Future Today Institute. Webb will offer a glimpse of the future in the healthcare industry.

Wajahat Ali, a writer and frequent op-ed contributor to The New York Times, will speak Monday and discuss building a “Multicultural Coalition of the Willing” to unite communities and overcome bigotry.

Stanley McChrystal, a retired four-star general who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan, will be the featured speaker Tuesday and talk about how organizations should confront risk and remain focused.

Chief Healthcare Executive is in Seattle for the American Hospital Association Leadership Summit. Look for our coverage throughout the conference.

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