In a time of tremendous change in the healthcare industry, physicians, hospitals, and health system often struggle to achieve sustainable business success and deliver exemplary value to their patients, families, and communities. It is increasingly clear that healthcare organizations must create strategies that extend beyond astute capital investments, contract negotiations, regulatory compliance, technology acquisition, and reputation management. Organizations that excel in the coming decade also must invest in superior culture to attract and retain patients and top clinical talent.
This is particularly challenging given rampant burnout for at least half of the healthcare workforce, which negatively impacts patient experience, employee engagement, staffing and turnover, patient safety, process and policy compliance, and productivity. Signals for burnout include repeated patient safety or peer review events leading to litigation, struggles with operational efficiency in pursuit of stable profits, compliance failures, or difficulties with leadership transitions or turnover.
Organizations that succeed in addressing burnout and creating outstanding culture and workplace process improvement will attain tremendous competitive advantage. The Institute for Healthcare Excellence (IHE), guides physicians and health systems to evolve their culture to reduce burnout while improving performance.
Solution 1: Cutting Edge Assessment
A focused, validated, nimble assessment tool, which quickly quantifies not only burnout (emotional exhaustion), but also the ability of clinicians and leaders to bounce back from stress (emotional recovery) and whether they are doing their best work (emotional thriving) has been developed. The tool simultaneously captures key elements of team and organizational climate that impact culture, retention, productivity, and safety. Our tool is much shorter and easier to utilize than traditional engagement surveys and is entirely unique in focusing not only on challenges (e.g., burnout), but also on building blocks for excellence, such as effective teamwork and resilience. In addition, the tool allows leaders to select highly specific, targeted interventions scientifically shown to reduce burnout, enhance resilience, and promote better work.
Solution 2: Culture Transformation
Three (3) interwoven programs support clients in evolving their cultures to one that allows them to close the gap between what they aspire to achieve and what they actually achieve today. In all programs, participants have a chance to practice every skill, receive feedback, and plan for incorporating new skills into daily work.
RELATIONS® for Healthcare Transformation (RHT) – This interactive four (4)-hour course provides participants with skills necessary to enhance trust, teamwork, efficiency, and respect in pursuit of improved work climate, burnout, and clinical excellence. Effective human connection is the starting point for outstanding and fulfilling patient care, teamwork, and leadership. It is also the primary vehicle through which almost all work in healthcare occurs. Building a relationship-based, trusting culture allows clinicians and leaders to be at their best on a regular basis, which measurably reduces burnout and enhances individual, team, and organizational performance.
Human-Centered Leadership (HCL) – This one-and-a-half (1.5)-day course provides healthcare leaders with skills to create and nurture cultural practices that elevate performance. The HCL program builds upon and complements the skills taught in the RHT program. Specifically, this program emphasizes a portfolio of leadership practices that nurture respect, awareness of others’ strengths, open and honest communication, psychological safety, healthy team climate, alignment of engagement and team effort, and more effective decision-making.
Creating a Culture of Excellence, Respect, and Outstanding Performance: Transforming Disruptive Behavior – This two (2)-hour program provides clinicians and leaders with tools to address and resolve disruptive behaviors that undermine culture and performance. Disruptive behavior is, unfortunately, quite common, and healthcare organizations often struggle to address disruptions until a crisis develops. Taking a proactive approach is essential, because disruptive behaviors are linked not only to burnout, but also to turnover, grievances, diagnostic errors, surgical mistakes, and medication errors.
Solution 3: Process Improvement
Two (2) interwoven programs support clients in addressing challenges with inefficient, unreliable workflow policies and processes.
Experience Mapping – This four (4)-day session focuses on key workflows, with an emphasis on removing hassles in daily work and amplifying joys and other positive emotions that drive thriving and performance. Whereas common improvement methods, such as LEAN and Six Sigma, focus on how to reduce workflow pain points, Experience Mapping eliminates these hassles and simultaneously inserts and amplifies meaningful human connection that creates outstanding workplace culture.
Design Session – This two (2)-day session provides an opportunity for leaders and front-line caregivers to hardwire skills, vital behaviors, and process redesign solutions into daily work. By employing user-centered design methodologies, participants uncover truly novel solutions to existing challenges in daily culture and workflows, and create solutions customized to their local environment. While this session can be done solely as a follow-up to Experience Mapping, its efficacy increases if combined with the Culture Transformation programs above.
Key Program Features: Based on experience deploying this package of solutions at diverse health systems across the nation, the biggest ROI, typically at least 5-to-1, is seen by combining all of these elements. However, IHE can offer any of the experiences above for a sub-group of physicians, leaders, or staff, in order to demonstrate the value of our approach, even before an organization might commit to a broader body of integrated work. In addition, following an initial engagement, we are able to train a cohort of employees at a client to deliver most program elements independently, thus transferring capacity to the client.