Dr. Roger Kapoor: Building an Effective Team, Managing Conflict and Getting Results

Dr. Roger Kapoor, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.D., was recently named the 2022 recipient of the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Kenneth M. Viste Physician Leader of the Year Award, which recognizes one physician each year in the state of Wisconsin who demonstrates a commitment to patients, community, and the profession of medicine.

He was subsequently recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the “Top 25 Emerging Leaders” in the United States for his efforts in achieving incredible results in hospital operations and patient engagement.

Dr. Kapoor completed his clinical medical training at Stanford University in California and his dermatology training at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts. Additionally, Dr. Roger Kapoor holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Oxford University, England.

Dr. Roger Kapoor is a board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Beloit Health System in Beloit, Wisconsin. As an executive leader at the Beloit Health System, he has achieved strong results in operations (introducing telehealth, a new electronic medical record system, enhancements in revenue and patient volume), quality, and safety (moving the hospital Leapfrog safety score from a “C” to three straight “A” ratings and raising the hospital’s CMS star rating from 2 stars to 4 stars), physician/provider recruitment (recruiting approximately 50 physicians over the past 5 years), and engagement (increasing patient satisfaction from the 16th percentile to the 88th percentile in less than a year). Beloit Health System provides care for southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois residents.

We were fortunate enough to spend some time with Dr. Roger Kapoor, who spoke to us about how he approaches building a team, managing conflict, and getting results.

What qualities and skills do you look for when hiring new talent?

The healthcare field continues to transform in so many ways.  For example, we are a much more consumer-driven field, value-based care and other alternative payment models are becoming more prevalent, the infusion of technology is revolutionizing the way clinicians provide care and how patients connect with their care, a focus on population health and prevention is growing, and the list goes on and on.  With the field changing, all stakeholders need to adapt and begin to flex different skill sets and qualities to maximize success.

One attribute I look for in an individual is integrity.  Of course, integrity encapsulates the concept of moral uprightness, being honest and fair. Still, more generally, for me, integrity represents being a part of something larger than yourself and feeling a sense of wholeness when you join a network of coworkers.  When an individual has integrity, the right course of action is bound to occur because the decision-making is not about what is good for the individual but rather what is good for the entity.

With integrity as the building block of new talent, that individual naturally adds to the company’s vision and fuels the energy needed to inspire and achieve outstanding results.  That inspiration, positive attitude, hunger, or whatever you want to call it, is still number two.  It is critical to bring people on board who share in the company’s mission and/or vision to be the best it can be and to continue to innovate and inspire.  These qualities, if present, make feelings of burnout very difficult to take root.

I’ll round this out with a 3rd skill that I look for during an interview, and that would be for people who have a high degree of insight rather than intelligence.  What I mean by that is I am looking for people to think about the next steps in healthcare delivery instead of focusing on the current step.  We need to collectively focus on how we improve and maximize the health of our communities, how we will address health care disparities, curb healthcare costs, address new regulatory changes, staffing shortages and on and on.

“Intelligence is essential but insight is key.”

What questions do you ask during an interview?

Part of being a good leader is the ability to confront issues and proactively seek out potential problems and address them before they develop.  During an interview, I love hearing of a situation where a candidate has done this.  It gives you a great window into how an individual can handle a situation but, more importantly, if you listen carefully you can find out how the individual manages.

In the healthcare field, especially during COVID-19, policies, protocols, and situations were constantly changing.  If an individual is able to manage themself effectively, with good time management, remaining calm, cool and collected, and demonstrate a willingness to serve a mission of an organization, no problem is too big to address constructively.

How do you motivate your team for outstanding results?

I find that people give in proportion to your vision not your need.  When I made patient satisfaction a priority for our team, we were at the 16th percentile and historically had hovered around the 20th percentile for the past 3 years.  I still remember the faces my leadership team made when I sat them down and set out a vision to improve our patient satisfaction scores to at least the 50th percentile in 1 year. I immediately got responses like, “we’ve tried everything in the book Dr. Kapoor” or “lets focus on something we can achieve”.

I had to remain steadfast with a focus on values and our mission and that treating all patients with respect was fundamental to our success and ability to transform the health and well-being of our community.  Long story short, maintaining that big vision and being unrelenting in my belief that we could achieve it, led our team to surpass my stated goal and we actually hit the 88th percentile in patient satisfaction in just over 6 months!

I have found that maintaining a big vision is important in motivating your team to achieve results they don’t think are possible.

How do you help create and sustain the culture of your practice?

I use my mouth and ears proportionately.  Listening to my leadership team, staff and fellow physicians to develop a mission/vision and organize my “to=do list” is important.  Once you have your vision rooted in the people you are serving, I work with my leadership team to develop a strategic plan to map out where we are going and how we are going to get there.

I make sure the people around the table are individuals who don’t just tell me what they think I want to hear but the truth on how we can collectively achieve objectives or if our plans will maximize success.  Once the plan is set, my job is to communicate, communicate, communicate and with confidence.  I do this with a firm belief in my team and by also empowering my team to make changes.

How do you handle difficult co-workers and patients?

I believe you cant always control situations around you but you must always be in control of situations within you.  If someone is angry or disgruntled, its important to not let that cloud your ability to understand what that individual is attempting to express.

At the root of any interaction, I have found very few truly “difficult” people.  I do, however, interact with people that believe, sometimes vehemently, in a different way to solve a problem.  There is nothing wrong with that unless you are unable to harness that passion to constructively engage them in a dialogue to create a solution we mutually want to solve.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your practice? Please explain how.

In becoming a leader, I believe you must create a vision for the future others can believe in, leading with values and understanding the unique position and ability you have to transform the lives around you for the better.  As people see your devotion and integrity, they are likely to become inspired by your leadership and suddenly you are able to achieve goals that individually you thought were not probable but collectively are more easily achievable.

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