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‘Never Look At Patients As Statistics’: Overlake CEO J. Michael Marsh At Bisnow’s Pacific Northwest Healthcare Summit

J. Michael Marsh and a patient at Overlake Medical Center

How can healthcare facilities use new technology to optimize patient wellness? How are new policies and public-private partnerships influencing healthcare? Is Seattle the new retirement hot spot? The biggest names in healthcare in the Pacific Northwest will gather to discuss these questions and more at Bisnow’s Pacific Northwest Healthcare Summit event on Oct. 31. Register here for the event

Bellevue is a community on the rise. With Amazon set to build a massive, 1M SF campus in the city, bringing thousands of new jobs and attracting new residents, it has never been more important for the area to have a robust, top-ranked health center.

Thankfully, it already does. 

Bellevue’s Overlake Medical Center is a nonprofit community hospital with more than 3,000 staff members. At its helm is CEO J. Michael Marsh, a seasoned healthcare professional passionate about delivering the best patient care and staying on the forefront of this ever-changing industry. 

Bisnow recently spoke with Marsh to learn why Overlake has been ranked in the top 10% of health centers in the country for patient safety and what he’s looking forward to at Bisnow’s Pacific Northwest Healthcare Summit on Oct. 31. 

Bisnow: What are some of the keys to a well-run, successful health center?

Marsh: At the foundation of any successful medical center is the relentless pursuit of clinical quality and patient safety. It’s about recognizing that you can never look at your patients as statistics, but as individuals who each require and deserve your full attention.

Hospitals need to create a culture where healthcare professionals are encouraged to speak up and bring their own individual expertise and experiences into work to help each patient. Everyone should be encouraged to express an opinion or an idea. 

Bisnow: What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the healthcare industry? 

Marsh: I have been in healthcare management for 32 years and the changes healthcare is experiencing today are greater than any I have seen throughout my career. Technology has transformed patient care, but it is also placing huge demands on capital in what is traditionally a low-margin industry.

As Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and other tech giants increase their involvement in healthcare and create new tools that are poised to make patients’ lives better, nonprofit hospitals will face greater challenges. How can these hospitals implement this expensive tech while still providing quality care to all patients, regardless of what they can pay? This is something we will all have to answer, both as an industry and as a country. 

Bisnow: How would you describe your role at Overlake? 

Marsh: I see the role of a chief executive as twofold — it’s my job to focus on both culture and strategy. I first and foremost need to create an environment where all 3,000 members of my staff feel like they have the ability to make the organization better by sharing their ideas and speaking their minds. 

Secondly, I need to position Overlake in a way that will allow us to evolve with the changing market and be successful not just in the next quarter, but in the next quarter-century. It’s all about planning for the future. 

Bisnow: What are you looking forward to at Bisnow’s Pacific Northwest Healthcare Summit

Marsh: I find being with other healthcare executives to be a form of therapy. Even though many of us are competitors, we share a kinship because we are all being challenged by the same changing environment and we are all committed to the patients we serve. 

Bisnow: What are you passionate about outside of work? 

Marsh: My wife. I have an incredibly loving relationship that buoys me each day. She supports me, I learn from her and I constantly look forward to seeing her. 

J. Michael Marsh will be speaking at Bisnow’s Pacific Northwest National Healthcare Series on Oct. 31. Register here for the event