Nancy Schlichting, CEO, Henry Ford Health System

Nancy SchlichtingWinner, Spirit of Entrepreneurship

It was a great opportunity but, unquestionably, a great challenge as well. For the first time since 1915, Henry Ford Health System was going to build a new hospital. The health care system had grown since that time, but it was through acquisition rather than new construction.

Nancy Schlichting felt the pressure, but she was supremely confident she was up to the challenge. This new hospital would be used, viewed and analyzed for years to come by millions of people. Schlichting wanted all those observations to be positive.

So the CEO and her team embarked on a design that would revolutionize the design of hospitals and the type of care that they provide. Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital was going to be modeled after a northern Michigan lodge with wooded areas and paths for walking and biking.

The latest in medicine and technology would be offered, along with comprehensive wellness and preventive programs.

To ensure that customer service and culture would stand out, Schlichting hired an executive from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel to be CEO at the hospital.

In addition to exemplary customer and patient service, Schlichting wanted safety to be a priority at the new hospital. She makes her way around all of the company’s hospitals on a regular basis to gather feedback and address any issues that may have developed so she can quickly address them.

Her regular presence has served as an important reinforcement to her words of quality and accountability. The results indicate she’s on the right path. Satisfaction scores since the hospital opened are in the 99th percentile and admissions are higher than many other hospitals in metro Detroit. The hospital is also projected to break even in its third year.

HOW TO REACH: Henry Ford Health System,