Physician Group


Straight Talk

January 29, 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Over the years, thanks to all of you, NCH has developed a reputation as a leader, not only for superior quality and performance but also for our sharing, can-do culture. And so I was pleased this week to share the stage with a physician colleague and two healthcare experts to present to colleagues from around the nation, our NCH journey in terms of culture, leadership and performance.

As a destination for national healthcare meetings, Naples was the setting for two major forums within the past two weeks with hundreds of trustees, physician leaders, and administrators including NCH Board Chair Mariann MacDonald, Board members RT Michelle Barrett, Terry Flynn, RN Elizabeth Foster, Tom Gazdic, Dr. Kay Gow, Dr. John Lewis, Robert Moses, Chief of Staff Kevin Cooper and I learning and sharing best practices from other systems and nationally recognized luminaries.

There were common themes presented, which should sound familiar to all of us. Among them:

  • Changing demographics. Locally, we have a growing community, bimodal in distribution. One growing sector, over-65-year-olds, 80% of whom are frequent internet users, still have an attraction to traditional medical care. The other growing sector are those younger families looking for newer, quicker, more convenient, and less expensive ways to connect with a healthcare provider; they will use Doctor on Demand (, or visit a CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart or something similar when their traditional medical office is not available. We will be positioned to serve both populations as we match our resources to the migration.

  • Healthy communities need a “backbone” institution to lead. Healthcare leaders must bring together other organizations—from not-for-profits to small and large employers—to create an environment where the healthy choice is the preferred choice. This is exactly what our Southwest Florida “Blue Zones” initiative is designed to do. Keeping the 80% of us who are well as healthy as possible is more cost effective than anything else our nation has tried. A dollar spent in preventing illness returns from $10 to $100 versus a dollar spent in healthcare at the end of life which comforts but perishes.

  • Medical errors continue to plague the system. Such errors, tragically, are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. To show what’s possible, I shared the great work our team—including the ICU, ER, nursing, and support folks—has done to decrease the death rate for sepsis (blood infection) from 34% to high single digits. We encourage others to learn from us and our partner Cerner, with predictive analytics. Our overriding goal is to help make care safer and better for everyone.

  • Disruptive changes confronts healthcare from outside the profession. Information technologies, wearable monitoring devices, placing the patient in the center, all are realities, as is increased transparency and cost awareness among smarter patients who shop for healthcare value.

Change is all around us. My parents used to tell my brothers and me, “Nothing happens when you stay home.” And they were right. Today, sharing our knowledge and learning from experts from around the nation will help us help the people we care about most in southwest Florida live longer, happier, and healthier lives.


Allen Weiss, M.D. Signature

Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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