Dr. Robert Kent, president and CEO, Summa Western Reserve Hospital

Dr. Robert Kent, president and CEO, Summa Western Reserve Hospital

WINNER: Health Care and Life Sciences

Since his early days as an independent primary care physician, Dr. Robert Kent has had a vision of transforming health care delivery from a status quo, do-it-the-way-it’s-always-been-done model to one of high-quality engaged efficiency. Kent encountered a lot of resistance and barriers in his quest but he has persevered, and with his leadership at Summa Western Reserve Hospital, he has succeeded and proven his critics and naysayers wrong.

In three years, Kent’s leadership as president and CEO has transformed what was a struggling community hospital into a successful physician-led institution. The hospital suffered consecutive years of large net losses from 2006 to 2008. Kent and his team have turned that situation around, and Summa Western Reserve recorded a multimillion-dollar profit in 2011. The turnaround is responsible for retaining more than 600 jobs, developing a new tax base for its community that didn’t previously exist and preserving a source of much-needed high-quality health care in its community.

To create a sustainable health care environment for future market conditions, Kent held firm to his belief that physicians and other clinicians have a better understanding of how to operationalize health care delivery than nonclinical individuals. With this mindset, Kent identified and placed key physicians in leadership roles at the hospital.

At each step of the process, from the new hospital’s inception to its ongoing success, these physicians-leaders have worked in lockstep, constantly refining the new model by identifying opportunities for improvement. Supported by administration, the clinical-leadership approach has enabled Kent and his team to soar in two areas that have proven problematic in most modern-day health care delivery systems: patient satisfaction and profitability.

How to reach: Summa Western Reserve Hospital, www.westernreservehospital.org.

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