Beating Your Hospital's "Personal Best": Q&A With HSS CEO Louis Shapiro

Becker's Hospital Review—June 29, 2011

Louis Shapiro, CEO of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, discusses how to use effective hospital benchmarks in the era of healthcare reform.

Q: How has competition changed for your hospital over the last 10 years? Do you feel the market has become more competitive or less competitive for HSS?

Louis Shapiro: I think it's important for the reader to understand who we are, because that sets the stage for how we view competition. HSS is an academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal healthcare, and we are the largest organization of our type in the world. We have a reputation as a world leader in our space, and that space is not just Manhattan — it's the world. And the reputation we have is a function of our size, our outcomes and our reputation that is derived from our academic programs, both teaching and research.

All of that sets the stage for how we view competition. I look at competition on three levels, and this may have changed a little bit over the course of time. First of all, our biggest competitor is ourselves. What I mean by that is that we look at whatever level of performance we have achieved as setting the baseline for our improvements. So what we accomplished this year across every dimension of performance, next year we want to do better. We don't want to go backwards. That takes worrying about our competition out of the equation because those that are the best at what they do are going to be the most competitive in any marketplace. That is our driving focus.

The second point is that we are competition for reputation, not business or market share. That has to do with being viewed as a leader in our field by taking on initiatives that demonstrate our leadership role in teaching, research and patient care. It's about having a level of performance across all three dimensions of our mission that causes others from around the world to learn about us.

To read the rest of the questions and Mr. Shapiro's responses go to beckershospitalreview.com.

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