Making Sense of Uncertainty

The First PNC Healthcare Executive Symposium

PNC Healthcare hosted the first annual PNC Healthcare Executive Symposium at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida on March 28 and 29, 2017. The event was designed to create a unique environment for executive level networking, discussion and dialogue on key industry challenges.

Twenty-six CEOs and CFOs attended. Organizations in attendance included Highmark, the Cleveland Clinic and Penn Medicine, as well as other leading healthcare institutions from across the country.

The two-day event opened with a networking reception and a dinner presentation on cybersecurity, followed by a day of discussions about the key issues facing boards and management. The key topics addressed and a brief description of the discussion were:


Thomas Furman, Managing Director of Cyber Security Consulting and Advisory Services at Marsh Risk Consulting encouraged attendees to take cybersecurity seriously and prepare a robust defense to protect both patients and provider organizations, especially from the emerging “internet of things” threats.

Among the pro-active steps healthcare organizations can take are:

  • Build awareness and educate your organization about the many fraud schemes.
  • Enhance the security of your computers and networks.
  • Install and maintain spam filters, real-time anti-virus anti-spyware desktop firewall, and malware detection and removal software.
  • Develop a contingency plan to resolve issues

Your organization does not have to be one of the many that have experienced disruption due to cyber threats.

Industry Disruption — “Something Wicked this way Comes.”

Ken Kaufman, Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC, challenged the audience to think progressively about where the industry is heading and how to get ahead of change and also how to take calculated risks to position their organizations for success.  Ken provided an extensive analysis of the massive changes wrought by the Internet to other industries that healthcare leaders could extrapolate lessons from. He noted, “The concept of wicked problems was created in 1973 by social scientists Horst Ritteland, Melvin Webber and Atul Gawande applied the concept to healthcare access in the 2012 New Yorker commentary ’Something Wicked this Way Comes.’”

Ken provided real tangential examples of industry stalwarts facing industry transformation, like ESPN’s disruption by customer’s “cutting the cord” and Sears facing survival issues as a result of the aggressiveness of Amazon, to demonstrate that being a leading organization today does not make you immune from disruption and relevancy tomorrow. Your opportunity to stay relevant to your patients and your community depends on your ability to lead and adapt to change.

“For legacy businesses,” he continued, “The attack of the Internet is a classic wicked problem. There is no clear way for established organizations to adapt to a radically new Internet business model without hurting their core business. However, a closer look at the nature of this wicked problem helps identify the challenge for legacy healthcare providers…and possible solutions.”

Consolidation - The Vision of an Integrated Delivery Network

David Holmberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Highmark, discussed “Getting Healthcare Right, Now and for the Future.” He shared compelling anecdotes about the experiences he encountered in his drive to re-configure the healthcare model to connect care and coverage across the full spectrum of consumer needs. Attendees found his commitment to getting healthcare right an inspiration for the entire healthcare industry. 

Consumerism — Experiences from Other Industries in Managing the Transformation

Greg Wasson, former CEO of Walgreens, presented information on lessons from other industries in managing the transformation from a bricks-and-mortar business to a consumer driven retail environment by investing in new technologies and looking to innovation labs for diversification strategies. He reinforced the message from other speakers that we can't keep doing what we are doing; we need to invest in technology and value-based care and build the right partnerships centered on the consumer. He also reminded attendees that choosing great leaders is still the key to effecting the changes needed in the Healthcare industry. He shared what he believes are the three most important leadership characteristics: ethics, passion and courage. 

2017 Federal Update and Healthcare Forecast

Michael P. Strazzella, Group Practice Leader, Federal Government Relations, Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney PC, reviewed results of the 2016 election, potential changes to the Affordable Care Act and their effect on hospitals, drug pricing, and how healthcare organizations can make their voices heard in Washington, among other topics.

Given the success and great feedback from this year’s forum, we’re looking forward to hosting a similar event with senior decision-makers and industry experts. The SECOND annual PNC Healthcare Executive Symposium will be taking place at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida on March 21 and 22, 2018.