The healthcare industry has always struggled with change. Some have embraced quality improvement initiatives and philosophies with significant results. Many others still are missing the mark. They are implementing ‘change management’ processes without embracing the true process. As a result, we are still experiencing healthcare quality and service that is far below what is expected in such a high risk industry.
Healthcare Leaders Must Embrace Change
One of the elements of great leadership is they have the ability to listen to and experience what goes on in the trenches, at the lowest levels of the organization. Healthcare leadership has a tendency to ignore their front line when exploring problems and listen to those workers who experience every aspect of their organization. These same leaders group around those connected to the C-suite and believe because of their education and experience, they are the only ones who possess the answers. Looking to people in an organization based upon position or education levels is still a disturbing trend in healthcare. The environment in a healthcare organization is still a class-based environment. Without extensive credibility at the end of their names on a signature block, the people with the most insight into the workings of the organization tend to be ignored. Even when the healthcare organization has embraced Lean Six Sigma practices, they restrict their focus of the programs based upon position or educational accomplishment.
Healthcare Demands a Change
The risk is too significant to ignore those who have significant amounts of institutional knowledge. The situation demands that if you really want to understand what is going on in your hospital, you need to get out from behind your desk or meeting room and start talking to those who are working the processes in the trenches. To do that, you need to be able to relate to those employees, establish trust, then be able to just listen! Only then, will you be able to find the diamonds in the rough. Otherwise, you are wasting valuable time and effort on improvement initiatives that, in the end, just won’t work.
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