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7 Questions with Tony S Reed
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7 Questions with Tony S Reed
Name: Tony S. Reed, MD, PhD
Current title: EVP & Chief Medical Officer
Current organisation: Temple University Health System
Dr. Reed is the EVP/CMO at Temple University Health System and the Temple University Hospital. He is responsible for the operationalization of safety, quality, experience, and engagement as well as the transformation and integration of care delivery across the system. His background includes leadership in quality and information technology as well as service line and fellowship leadership in sports medicine. Tony is boarded in family and sports medicine and is a certified physician executive. He holds an MBA in Information Technology and a PhD in Management with a concentration in Organizational & Change Leadership.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Keeping pace with all of the great talent we employ. I never want to be the drag in the system and the CMO needs to know a little bit about everything that is going on around the system. Our experts do tremendous work at an awesome pace and my job is to keep it all coordinated and productive towards our corporate vision, mission, and goals.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
After medical school, I became a service line leader, then a section and fellowship director. While doing that, I took classes towards my MBA in IT Management and found ways to use that training in my career. Next, I accepted a role as the system leader for quality and IT while working towards my PhD in Leadership to set me up for my next position. I came to my current company to lead an aspect of medicine I had never led before - acute care hospitals. Fortunate timing made it possible to ascend into my current role where I have been able to use all of my prior training and experiences.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Wake up - make coffee! Check my morning emails to get a sense of what has transpired in the past 12 hours. Drive to work (occasionally taking my son to school along the way) and catch up on an occasional call. Once I get there, I generally have about an hour to respond to pressing issues before meetings begin. A typical day could range between safety, regulatory, and quality meetings -or- financial, tactical, or strategic planning meetings. There's a lot of variability in my scope. Sometimes, I get lunch - sometimes, I eat at my desk while catching up on news around the healthcare world. In the afternoon, I try to round in a different part of the system at least 3 days a week. Late afternoon is meeting time for physicians who have seen patients all day. Once a week, I have office hours in the afternoon. And then drive home while catching up on a few calls. On a great day, I get to take the top off my jeep for the drive! Dinner with the family, then feeding the animals (we live on a farm with chickens, alpaca, and goats) and watering the orchard. Then check in on the final round of emails to begin to plan tomorrow.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Communicate - then over communicate. Rarely does anyone complain that they've heard something too many times (except maybe my teenagers). COVID has taught us the value of a regular cadence of communication.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come by Jessica Pan. It's not a leadership story, but rather a saga of one introverted author's experience when she decides to try to be an extrovert for a year. I am very introverted and introspective by nature. I don't 'put myself out there' often. I found in her story that the way to change how we're seen is to change how we're seen. I now force myself to go to events where I wouldn't have in the past and to speak up where I previously was silent. These subtle changes in myself have allowed me to grow in how I am perceived as a leader.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Purposeful recruitment. Fostering growth and development. Holding people accountable for outcomes and recognizing them when they produce results. Look towards the future - both for those we mentor and for the organization we steward. In developing our team, we should be building a team of leaders who know how to follow rather than a team of followers who follow for the sake of their role.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
COVID hit us hard. We closed elective procedures, closed the offices, shut down unnecessary work, and nearly got overrun with ill patients. Our volume was such that despite closing down all non-COVID aspects of the health system, we did not lay off a single individual because we needed the help to manage the COVID volume. Our entire staff performed beautifully. Something to be proud of for the rest of our careers. The wave receded and we reopened gradually until a second wave hit. And then a third. Around this time, news of a vaccine came and I knew we needed to be ready to deliver it in the best way possible for the morale and protection of our staff. We assembled a team who determined that we would vaccinate all employees of the COVID units first, then ED, then other areas where COVID exposure occurred, then other areas - concentric rings based on the degree of exposure. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists would be vaccinated alongside housekeepers, transporters, and phlebotomists. There would be no "class" effect or segregation by job within the organization. Simultaneous to that planning, we built the vaccination center - designed to handle 1,000 people per day. When the opening of the clinic came, December 16, we rolled it out with accolades internally and externally, including national press coverage, for the equity in our process and the efficiency with which we were able to vaccinate our most vulnerable and overworked staff. The joy, appreciation, and relief just before Christmas made it all worthwhile and something those of us on the planning group will cherish forever.