Interview of a Health Care Leader Questionnaire

Excerpt from Questionnaire :


The term health care refers to the inter-related system of care provided to persons during illness. In most of the cases, healthcare begins with the family doctor who refers patient to specialists if needed or directly order further diagnostic testing. Community health clinics perform the same procedure as a family doctor, but alongside with that, clinics also provide insight into patterns of health or illness seen within the community. Hospital just form one part of the healthcare community, as are mostly visited when a patient's condition is more acute and requires intervention by the hospitals high-end staff, since more can be done for him in a hospital rather than in a clinic where he is just an out-patient.

Clinics of various types provide very specific services, such as "pain management clinics" these clinics are targeted for towards people suffering from pain conditions. Rehabilitation services also form a needed part of in-patient and out-patient health care services. Respiratory therapy, Speech therapy and Occupational therapy are also important components in health care treatment and recovery. "Mental Health parity" struggles to provide services for emotional/mental health in a way that is equivalent to physical health care. Thus, "Health care" is a complex system designed to educate, diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate before/during/after a mental/emotional or physical health problem (DDI. 2006).

There are various forums and communities throughout the world that contribute in making healthcare possible, apart from all the work done by governmental organizations. In this paper we will choose a prominent personality from the nonprofit healthcare community and interview them about their work, goals, achievements and statements on various issues. Also we will provide a comprehensive discussion in relation to the interview supported by various researches and theories.

Nonprofit organization have played a critical part in the financing and delivery of healthcare services in the past, and still continue to do so still. Such organizations are a part of the U.S. economy's "third sector," which is very different as compared to its others sectors yet highly interdependent with, the other two sectors -- government and the for-profit business sector. The country's first hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital, was founded in 1751 as a nonprofit facility and continues to operate as such today. 50 years later America's first insurance plan was founded as nonprofit organization by a nonprofit hospital in Texas (DDI. 2006).

Today about 60% of community hospitals are nonprofit, all community health centers are nonprofit, almost 30% of nursing homes are nonprofit, and about 17% of home health care agencies are estimated to be nonprofit. Nonprofit health plans1 are estimated to serve over 40% or more of all private health insurance enrollees (DDI. 2007).

To discover more on the status of healthcare and the services invested in this field we conducted an interview with a prominent organization, by the name of SHARP, and spoke to CEO Dede Alpert, about her organizations activities in the healthcare sector. Sharp HealthCare is a not-for-profit integrated regional health care organization and delivery system based in San Diego, California. Sharp includes four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, two affiliated medical groups and a health plan, plus a full spectrum of other facilities and services.

The first question we asked Dede was about her position in Sharp. Dede Alpert is the current managing CEO if Sharp, she joined the organization in 2002 and is the 5th managing CEO for the organization. She is the driving force behind earning the organization the 2007 Malcome Baldrige National Quality Award, which is an award presented to company's and organization for the recognizing their services among the three sectors in the U.S. It was also under her managing skills that Sharp was named a gold-level award recipient t by the California Council for Excellence (CCE) for the California Awards for Performance Excellence (CAPE) program, the state-level affiliate of the Baldrige Award, in 2006. With such credentials under her name, no wonder Sharp is recognized throughout the country.

The second question we asked her was regarding her leadership style and ideas. According to her healthcare is a 24-hour job, because if it is not the internal work related concerns, then it is the external assistance to the various sister and affiliated sister companies and organizations working for the same cause. "My plans are to improve and provide healthcare incentives to communities so that a proper standard can be set, and to improve the healthcare process for those that Sharp serves, with of course a commitment to excellence in everything thing." Considering these ideas, her managing style is not just to be the "working from the office CEO," but rather go and reach wherever it is possible and required; so that people can see through and through how diligent the organization is, towards providing standard healthcare facility for people.

Followed by this we asked about her leadership style in today's present world. She believes that it more important now than before to reach out in ones community and beyond that, to make sure that the people living in a society are receiving proper and standardize healthcare support which they thoroughly deserve. "With peoples trust and expectations from the government to ensure basic healthcare needs to be met and reforms to be introduced fading, it is more important now to pitch in whatever an organization, community and society as a whole can do for its people rather than wait for the government to turn a leaf."

Because the way things appear presently, the idea of universal health coverage remains controversial. While a wide variety of people in most demographic groups agree that the federal government is responsible to some degree for Americans' health coverage, some groups are clearly in greater harmony than others are.

The fourth question we asked her was how does she view error? According to her, error is where some sort or any type of misuse or lack of justice is observed. This can be within the organization and as it is obvious outside in the society and the country where hundreds of thousands don't have basic healthcare protection, making what they do even more important now than ever before. Sharp is responsible and accountable to the communities and populations it serves. It is legally and ethically bound to "do well" for the benefit of other communities.

Each board of director in Sharp's various ventures is selected from the same state/community where the facility is being setup, so that maximum understanding can be achieved about the community. Hence, according to Dede, "if we fail to fulfill our mission statement, that is our biggest error and shortcoming, I view error as responsibility that is not fulfilled."

The fifth question that was asked was how does she view change? "Our work is all about changing! Improving yes, but mostly changing the current state of healthcare provision." According to her change is important in any aspect of life, when people progress then their surrounding, their necessities and requirement change accordingly and hence one needs to learn how to adopt in the light of any circumstance.

Followed by this, we asked her the importance of innovation and change in her organization. She believes that the government's biggest failing is that it did not introduce any new health reforms for its people with the passing time. With passing years population is increasing and it is important to introduce reforms under the light of these advancements. Similarly she is all up for new procedures and techniques introduced in her organization. "Of course one has to keep up with advancements so that the organization does not fall behind and fail to fullfil its purposes"

With the world moving so fast and new advancements made every day, it is becoming much easier to reach other to people, according to her, "so why would someone choose to not adopt these changes?

The seventh question that we asked her was regarding cultivating a sense of responsibility in her organization, "some level of responsibility is a given considering our nature of work." According to Dede, when one realizes the amount of healthcare welfare dependant on them, a sense of respect and responsibility is the first thing that takes roots. Responsibility and ethics cannot be achieved unless one does not learn to respect the work they are doing. "Sharp is a renowned organization, and communication is our key factor, we let our employees know the outcome of their hard work by showing them physical prove, hence they learn to respect their jobs and thus a responsibility takes roots."

Next we asked Dede Alpert about her take on the cultural diversity in the healthcare industry, according to her "Diversity is an issue that all businesses must grapple with, but for healthcare companies, maintaining a diverse workforce takes on a whole new urgency." She explains that in today's global society where patients vary in gender, creed and race and likely to consult any healthcare organization, "without a diverse workforce, treating these patients becomes impossibly harder as language and cultural misunderstandings can decrease the quality of communication…

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