Episode #138: Reflections on five years of producing the ‘Creating a New Healthcare’ podcast, with Dr. Zeev Neuwirth – and special guest interviewer, Scott Becker

This is a singularly unusual and unprecedented episode. Aug 17th 2022, which is the day of the posting of this episode, is the 5th anniversary of the ‘Creating a New Healthcare’ podcast. I’m taking this opportunity to spend a few minutes reflecting on the journey – and to share those reflections with you. As always, I am interested in your thoughts as well, so please respond on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Initially, I was planning to host this by myself, but then I thought how much more interesting and fun it would be to have someone else to speak with, especially someone who is adept with hosting their own podcast. The first person who came to mind was the amazing Scott Becker, who graciously agreed to interview me for this episode. Scott Becker needs no introduction, but for those who don’t know his history…

Scott Becker is the founder & publisher of The Becker’s Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review. He is an attorney, a partner at McGuireWoods and a former board member of McGuireWoods.   Scott also served as chair of the national health care practice at McGuireWoods for more than 12 years.  He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a CPA.  And, as I mentioned before, an amazing podcast host!

In this interview, I’ll share:

  1. The very real tension that is driving this podcast, as well as its fundamental purpose, which is a bit different from other podcasts.
  2. A few critical lessons I’ve learned from our guests over the past 5 years.
  3. Some examples of the courageous journeys that we’ve been privy to hearing on this podcast.
  4. A couple of favorite quotes from the amazing leaders I’ve interviewed.
  5. What continues to energize and inspire me about the podcast journey and some thoughts about what’s next.

Without giving away too much, here are a few brief thoughts on this discussion with Scott Becker.  

First – it was an incredible honor to have Scott Becker interview me. He is one of the most generous individuals I have come across in the healthcare world and I have tremendous respect for what he has built, including the incredible relationships he has fostered.  

Second – when I reviewed the list of the brilliant leaders who have been on the ‘Creating a New Healthcare’ podcast – over 250 interviews, 137 of which I’ve posted – I was surprised at how many were situated within legacy healthcare organizations: hospital systems, payers… I would have thought that the majority were entrepreneurs in start-ups, but it seemed to be split pretty evenly. The takeaway is that transformational change can and does occur within legacy healthcare systems – hugely hopeful and inspiring!

Third – although I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews, there are actually a relatively small number of critical lessons or themes that these leaders all resonate around. I share 3 major lessons in response to a question Scott asks; but there are a few others that are woven throughout the dialogue. And I love that Scott inserts some important takeaways in there as well.    

Fourth – despite a lot of rhetoric about the demise of our healthcare system, I share an informed and grounded perspective that I have never been more encouraged, hopeful and inspired than I am today. This doesn’t come from an armchair perspective. I work in our healthcare system each and every day, as I have for the past 30 plus years. And, my overall sense is that there has never been a better time for the humanistic transformation of American healthcare.   

Fifth – My overarching perspective is one of respect and gratitude. There is no question that our healthcare system is in need of some serious fundamental change.  But, there is also no question in my mind that the vast majority of the people working within our healthcare system are truly amazing. The doctors, nurses, PA’s and other providers, as well as the administrative leaders and staff who work tirelessly each and every day – week after week, month after month, year after year.  No matter what swirls around them, no matter what politics or payments or pandemics, they perform professionally – with compassion and empathy. They hold our system together. My respect, gratitude and hope arise from working with, watching and learning from these truly incredible individuals.

Two final thoughts here – 

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you out there who have been listening to, commenting on and sharing this podcast with your professional networks. I can’t begin to tell you how important and meaningful your feedback is to me.  

I hope you enjoy and benefit from listening to this particular podcast episode as much as I did in recording it.

Until Next Time, Be Well
Zeev Neuwirth, MD