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Q & A with Robert Kasdin

Q & A with Robert Kasdin

The senior vice president and chief operating officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine discusses institutional challenges and opportunities.

Robert Kasdin joined Johns Hopkins Medicine on July 1, 2015, as its first senior vice president and chief operating officer. He is responsible for overall operations, including strategic direction.

Kasdin came to Johns Hopkins from Columbia University, where he had served since 2002 as senior executive vice president. He previously held leadership roles at the University of Michigan, Princeton University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.                     

Dome spoke with Kasdin about the opportunities and challenges ahead, and about the Johns Hopkins values that inspire him.

Q:  What drew you to Johns Hopkins Medicine?

A:  At this moment, academic medical centers across the country are under increasing financial pressures. I believe that Johns Hopkins Medicine, one of the most important mission-driven systems in the country, could lead the way in finding a successful long-term model to address the needs of its patients and continue to lead in research and in education, all while pursuing a financially sustainable model.

Q:  What are the challenges and opportunities the changing health care landscape will bring to Johns Hopkins Medicine over the next five years?

A:  We have, on all government levels, rapidly evolving reimbursement regimes and regulations that will compel health care providers to continue to modify the way we deliver services to patients. That means we are focusing more than ever on value, population health and controlling controllable expenses.

Johns Hopkins Medicine should continue its efforts to become an integrated health care provider that further integrates our academic division hospitals and community hospitals, ambulatory sites, primary care physicians and home care to provide high-value and effective health care in the right setting for the right patients in a timely fashion. I believe that home care, in particular, will be an increasingly important part of population health strategy as the population ages.

Q:  Your mission includes improving operational efficiencies and decision-making processes. Tell us a bit about what this means and how you will do it.

A:  The leadership team at Johns Hopkins Medicine will continue to make evidence-based decisions. That requires fact-gathering, careful analysis and proper framing of questions. It’s crucial to identify questions that are truly important because of their implications to people and their health, and to the financial resilience of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Q:  What was your first order of business when you started work here 10 months ago?

A:  Really listening—understanding our culture and, more particularly, my colleagues, their needs and the challenges we all confront in marshaling the vast resources, both human and otherwise, that we can draw upon to advance patient care, research and education.

Q:  What have you learned as you have become more familiar with the institution?

A:  Johns Hopkins Medicine has an extraordinary history and culture. The values that mark almost every conversation center on service to patients and their families. That is remarkable and makes Johns Hopkins Medicine worthy of everyone’s best efforts. 

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