Written by Alexis Simms, communications coordinator, Nashville Health Care Council.

On October 9, Leadership Health Care hosted an Executive Briefing featuring Chris Holden, president and CEO, Envision Healthcare. During the hourlong discussion moderated by Molly Vice, director, Leadership Health Care, Holden touched on a breadth of topics ranging from his leadership style, Envision being a disruptor in health care, to how he stays engaged and excited about the industry. He also took a moment to interact with LHC members and do a brief Q and A. This was a refreshing conversation where LHC members had an opportunity to hear from and engage with a top leader in the Nashville health care community. Continue reading to see some of the most poignant and insightful moments from the conversation.

Questions and Quotes

Mr. Holden’s Leadership Style

This is a group of emerging leaders and everyone in this room is looking to put their best foot forward to advance in their career, how did you differentiate yourself?

“Just show up and be present, through the thick and the thin. To me a great leadership quality is to measure how thick was their skin in the tough times. It is about how strong their intestinal fortitude is during the rough times. This is what differentiates the good from the great. Leadership is about keeping your hand on the wheel throughout all seas, whether they are stormy or calm. What people want from a leader is someone who makes them feel safe. They want to know that their leader is processing the storms in a way that has their best interest at heart.”

Innovation at Envision

What does innovation look like for Envision?

“We have a reputation of being disruptive. Nashville is the Silicon Valley of health care, because we are known for disrupting health care. I believe the health care system is crying out for more integration. Patients are frustrated with almost every facet of the complexity of how our health care system works. At Envision we are working on limiting that frustration and improving the seamless delivery of care for patients.”

Staying excited and Engaged in Health Care

What excites you to show up every day, and what do you lose sleep over?

Excite – “Driving change, we hope to be a positive force and continue to make the health care system better. We want to leave the world better than when we found it. Every day I ask myself did I leave the world better? A big part of that is doing events like this and speaking to the future leaders of health care. That makes me feel really good.”

Lose Sleep – “You are shepherds of this system, you have to make decisions on what’s best for the country, what’s best patients, and that’s not easy. I see people today that are going in the wrong direction and it’s unnerving. We could wreck it (health care system), that would be a tragedy, and that’s what keeps me up at night. Because we are in the business, we understand the system and its flaws and strengths. You must embrace your role as leaders and defend what’s right and educate others about the system. Even if that means hanging yourself out there. Take risks even if it means putting your reputation and beliefs on the line. To be a great leader you need to be ready to bet it all.”

Questions from LHC Members

You say we have the greatest health care system in the world, but it is also the costliest. How do we address the rising cost of health care while maintaining and improving quality? What is Envision doing to address rising costs?

“This is the single greatest mandate in health care today. If you’re not looking for ways to bend the cost curve, your value proposition will be highly questioned. For us it’s about clinical integration. In today’s current state the data doesn’t talk to one another. There needs to be less silos and more integration.”

What opportunities do you see for the Nashville health care community?

“The Nashville Health Care Council is a tremendous pearl here in Nashville. Our national reputation as a health care hub is something we need to continue to build on. With the growth that we have downtown I would love for Nashville to host more national conferences. The Nashville Health Care Council is great at promoting collaboration and getting super talented people together to share ideas.”