Students Compare Business and Hospital Strategies

CEH TeamBrian Spraberry, CEO of the Callahan Eye Hospital, made his first visit to the Collat School of Business on October 29, 2013 when he discussed his organization and its strategy with students in the combined undergraduate capstone and MBA class, “Strategic Leadership Through the Eyes of the C-Suite”.

Callahan Eye Hospital is a member of the UAB Health System. It is located in the heart of the UAB medical campus on University Boulevard. Mr. Spraberry noted that the hospital is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and in fact is a few years older than UAB itself. He told students that he and UAB Health System CEO Will Ferniany had worked together twice before in their careers, including at UAB, and noted the value of such career networking.  Spraberry holds a Master’s of Science in Healthcare Administration from the UAB School of Health Professions.

Spraberry described the hospital’s strategic focus on providing outpatient surgical services in four primary areas related to the eye: macular degeneration and glaucoma, and disorders related to the retina and cornea. Despite being landlocked in a building designed in the 1960s to be an inpatient hospital, the Callahan Eye Hospital has significantly increased its volume of surgical procedures under his leadership while at the same time maintaining high levels of patient care quality and patient satisfaction.

A group of students who had researched the hospital’s strategy made a presentation to Mr. Spraberry. The students encouraged Mr. Spraberry to continue the hospital’s conversion of former inpatient facilities to outpatient surgical facilities. Spraberry described the hospital’s plans for building several new operating rooms in the next two years.

Studying a tax-exempt eye hospital affiliated with an academic medical center provided students with an opportunity to compare the strategic planning and implementation of such an organization with those functions at for-profit, usually publicly-traded, businesses that are usually the focus of a school of business strategy class.

“Strategic Leadership Through the Eyes of the C-Suite” is taught by Collat Business professor Stephen Yoder, and features visits from members of the executive suites of public or other large complex organizations who discuss their organizations’ strategies and how they are developed and implemented.