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Hello, Hospital Impact readers!
Due to the holiday season, Hospital Impact will not publish newsletters or blog posts for the next two weeks. We will resume publication Jan. 8, 2015.
Have a great holiday season and a happy new year!
by Ilene MacDonald
This year I had the privilege of interviewing many hospital and healthcare executives about leadership strategies and the challenges the industry faced in the wake of healthcare reform, Medicare regulations, consolidations and business initiatives. Although the topics differed, one theme emerged in nearly all of those discussions as well as other stories that FierceHealthcare covered in 2014:
Positive, long-lasting change can't and won't happen unless it comes from the top.
Toby Cosgrove's work at the Cleveland Clinic is one such example. His commitment to transform the organization's culture and put the patient at the center of its mission and vision is the main reason that the non-profit academic medical center is now a leader in improving the patient experience and patient satisfaction.
During my interview this fall with James Merlino, M,D., who will leave his position as chief experience officer at the Cleveland Clinic at the end of this year, he credited Cosgrove for making the 43,000 employees think of patients as valued customers. "If you don't have the support from the top person in the organization, driving it as a strategic initiative, nothing will change," he told me.
More recently, Michael Macht-Greenberg, Ph.D., vice president of patient access services at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, described Lahey's success with improving the patient experience for that very reason. It was because the organization's leaders were committed to improving patient access to care that he decided to take the job.
Mark Twain once said, "If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes." As a lifelong New Englander, I can attest to that.
When it comes to social media, the same concept applies--if you don't like the social networks today, just wait, because there will be a new one tomorrow.
Hospitals are now more accustomed to navigating the social media waters: There are 1,540 hospitals in the U.S. that use one or more social media networks or blogs, according to the Health Care Social Media List (HCSML) maintained by the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media.
The HCSML keeps track of hospitals' use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, 4Square, LinkedIn and blogs. What isn't on that list, though, is a little network called Instagram. When I say little, it's quite snarky because this month Instagram surpassed Twitter, with 300 million (yes, million) monthly users.
In May, I talked about the attributes of great leaders. The subject drew a lot of attention over the past year, as healthcare continues to evolve in this ever changing climate of reimbursement and accountability.
Recently, Mitch Robbins wrote a blog for The HealthCare Initiative on leadership. The article was a great reminder that "... Leadership is a daily task, not just a title. Great leaders make mistakes. The difference between great leaders and others is that great leaders see these mistakes as learning opportunities."
Here are some lessons learned by some of our great leaders:
by Mina Ubbing
At some point, all hospitals and healthcare systems face the need to convert or upgrade their computer platforms.
Sometimes this is due to a merger or acquisition that requires the change for system integration. Other times, it's necessary because of changing demands for both financial and clinical informatics. Importantly, computer conversions can consume significant resources for as long as two years.
In healthcare, you can't close your facility while the conversion takes place. Certainly a conversion is a major undertaking and is a major investment of not only money, but also human resources. When hospitals consider a conversion or enhancement, they often engaged consultants to assist leadership in justifying the investment and to help end users understand the differences among various systems under consideration. This is a good idea for which most healthcare leaders can appreciate the value added. Ideally the consultants are independent from, but experienced with, the products the hospital considers.
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