Future Leader: Amy Flaster, ConcertoCare Chief Medical Officer
Amy Flaster, chief medical officer at Boston, Massachusetts-based ConcertoCare, has been named a 2021 Future Leader by Home Health Care News.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Flaster sat down with HHCN to talk about the importance of empathy and why leaders should pay attention to what their industry peers are doing.
HHCN: What drew you to this industry?
Flaster: I was drawn to this industry by a desire and a commitment to transform health care to better meet the needs of patients and their families. In my experience, folks want care that is in the home, or close to home, that is aligned with their health goals.
The health care system today, in its current state, is not structured to support that. I was very drawn to joining the home care industry and delivering care in the home as a better way to serve our patients.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
I think a lesson that we often revert back to at ConcertoCare is, “If you’ve seen one geriatric patient, then you’ve seen one geriatric patient.”
By that, we mean that as people age, they have such unique life stories, different goals of care, different pathophysiology and different ways that their health conditions interact. Care for an older population has to be really individualized and really unique. In many ways, that’s part of what drew me to ConcertoCare. The model that we are building as a team is one that is adaptable and really tailored to each patient.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of home-based care, what would it be?
I think if I could change one thing I would continue to make the industry and the care we deliver more digital. Nothing replaces human-to-human interaction in the home, but there are lots of ways for us to leverage technology to enhance the care that we provide for patients, improve access, optimize convenience and give patients a better experience. There are lots of ways for us to make technology accessible and fun to various complex populations. The onus is on us as an industry to get that right.
What do you foresee as being different about the home-based care industry looking ahead to 2022?
Looking forward to 2022, I’m excited about us continuing to innovate in the ways we deliver care and the ways we build communities that are safe in terms of COVID risk. When the pandemic started, I think people weren’t quite sure how to manage the risk. We’ve gotten really great as a company at continuing to provide care in the home that’s really impactful, but also safe for patients and their families. I think we’re going to see more of that in the industry.
In a word, how would you describe the future of home-based care?
Bright. I think the future is bright for home-based care. In some ways, COVID-19 has acted as a forcing function to bring about more widespread acceptance of care in the home, and more widespread uptake of telemedicine and virtual care. We’re also seeing that reflected in policy, in a wave of entrepreneurship focused on care in the home and in clinical buy-in.
People understand that health care is largely going to live outside of the hospital in the coming years and will look different in the next chapter.
What quality must all future leaders possess?
I think that, to be a good leader of an organization, you have to be able to empathize with what your leadership team is going through, with what your front-line clinical staff are doing and living day-to-day. You need to understand what your patients are going through. That’s the way to build a really great clinical model, a great patient experience, and a cohesive and vibrant team.
If you could give advice to yourself looking back to your first day in the industry, what would it be and why?
Listen to those around you. I think that there are a lot of wonderful organizations big and small doing care in the home. There are wonderful community-based organizations. There’s a lot to learn from companies that have been doing this for a long time.
Building those connections, collaborating, and really reaching out and getting to know those in the community around you that are doing this work, that is a really important starting point.