New Blood in Healthcare

The forecasts for growth in the healthcare business are amazing and frightening. One million jobs have already moved from the manufacturing sector to the healthcare section.

Sectors of the economy that show great potential often draw great people. The Career Journal has a great profile about that.

F. Nicholas Jacobs “spent his youth studying the trumpet and worked as a school band leader, rural arts organization manager and regional tourism director until he turned 40 a decade ago and decided he could have a better career in health care.”

He has done amazing things at Wilber Medical Center in Pennsylvania:

Mr. Jacobs told his 17-member board, which had elected him by just one vote, that they had a choice: to send him to buy plywood to nail over the hospital’s windows or to support his strategy to transform the place into a leading patient-centered hospital and research facility.

Since then, bucking the trend toward consolidation of small hospitals, he has created a niche for his medical center. It now is affiliated with the Planetree treatment system, which integrates meditation, massage, music and other holistic methods into traditional health care. Staff has nearly doubled to 450 employees, and pay has improved. Windber has sharply increased emergency-room use, lab testing and outpatient surgery; has raised more than $50 million in public and private funding; and has forged research partnerships with the Walter Reed Army Health System and the University of Pittsburgh, among others.

His efforts show how lofty goals can be achieved under a committed leader, and how savvy businesses can thrive in unlikely places. “Lots of people said this couldn’t be done in Windber, but I told them Rochester, Minn., never stopped the Mayo Clinic from being a world-class institution,” says Mr. Jacobs.

I believe we are going to see more of these sorts of stories in the healthcare field. Powerful leaders are going to enter these stagnant organizations and breathe new life into them.