Habitual Excellence — 73: HSS CEO Lou Shapiro on Culture as Strategy & How to Sustain Habitual Excellence

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

Joining us today as our guest is Louis (Lou) A. Shapiro. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital for Special Surgery HSS. He has served in this role since October 2006.

Under Lou’s leadership, HSS has experienced significant growth, expansion of facilities and recognition as the world leader in its specialty areas of orthopedics, rheumatology and their related disciplines.

Lou has more than 30 years of healthcare experience, including as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, and as a leader in the healthcare practice at McKinsey & Company. He began his career at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he served in a number of capacities.

Today we’re going to be talking about how the culture at HSS contributes to their habitual excellence, including 13 years being ranked #1 at what they do as a specialty hospital for musculoskeletal care. What’s the role of hiring the best of the best and how does a culture help them thrive and stay? What can be learned from the HSS approach that delivers such great value, including incredibly low infection rates.

In today’s episode, Lou talks with with host Mark Graban, about topics and questions including:

  • Patients being willing to travel to HSS for better care and service (Net Promoter Score of 94)
  • HSS will be celebrating its 160th year anniversary
  • Do other organizations who are losing patients to HSS look to them for how to improve and compete?
  • Why Lou doesn’t compare HSS to anybody else
  • Sharing data transparently
  • Culture as strategy
  • Would the HSS management model and culture translate to a general hospital or system?
  • Commitment to culture on top of hiring the very best (and keeping them)
  • Breaking down tradeoffs: better flow, faster care can also be more caring care, higher quality care, safer care
  • Comparing costs – not just per episode, but across the continuum including conservative care
  • The importance of not becoming a commodity
  • Being visible and accessible as a leader
  • “Excellence” as one of the values of the organization and realizing you’re not perfect
  • Aiming for and wanting ZERO injuries, infections, complications and ZERO dissatisfied patients