Cooperating for better care.

Robert Whitcomb

Author Archives

Self-awareness key to physician leaders’ success

An article in Physicians’ Practice reports on how organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich sees how physician leaders with self-awareness can help their teams to thrive even in difficult circumstances.

The crucial thing is self-awareness, built on two forms of self-knowledge: leaders’ understanding of who they are internally and how well they understand how others see them.

The article says that according to her research, self-aware people are:

  • “Better performers at work”
  • “Receive more promotions”
  • “More effective communicators”
  • “More engaging and motivating leaders”

She says that self-aware health-care leaders tend to:

  1. “Have higher well being”
  2. “Lower burnout”
  3. “And organizations they are a part of deliver higher-quality care and have higher patient satisfaction.”

To read the article, please hit this link.


Veterans health: A surprising place for innovation

An article in NEJM Catalyst reports: “The U.S. Veterans Health Administration’s vast size and complexity suggest that it would be an improbable environment for nimble innovation, but it has created an Innovation Ecosystem that leverages its resources and expertise to generate a steady stream of new ideas, projects, and programs that have made significant improvements for the organization and the veterans it serves.”

To read the article, hit this link.


Complexity science in COVID-19 crisis

James W. Begun, PhD, and H. Joanna Jiang, PhD, both of the University of Minnesota, tout complexity science in presenting six cases that show how health-care leaders and clinicians can respond well to the COVID-19 pandemic with extensive communication, collaboration and innovation.

The authors conclude:

“Complexity science, with its emphasis on simple rules, open discussions, and building connections, provides an orienting framework for response to major surprise. The perspective provides an evidence-based foundation for management during disasters. During the Covid-19 crisis, health-care organizations that have emphasized communication, connection and innovation have effectively addressed the challenges to adjust capacity, redesign care models, redeploy staff and overcome financial loss.

“Complexity science also provides a framework for learning from disasters. Any future disasters will require health-care organizations to face challenges that will be different in detail, even while similar in pattern. Health-care organizations, particularly those that have entered the recovery and rebuild stage, can use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to transform into more agile and resilient learning systems.”

To read the article, please hit this link.


Keeping physician practices stable in the pandemic

In a Physicians Practice essay, Sachin Gupta, CEO of IKS Health, discusses how independent physician practices can remain administratively stable during the COVID-19 pandemic and after, and he discusses the key determinants of success for new and growing practices.

To read the article, please hit this link.


Connected care in time of crisis

Using a model of Dallas-based Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, two experts write about connected communities of care:

“The integration and cooperation among health care organizations that provide clinical care and community-based organizations that address social determinants of health, especially for vulnerable populations, is of growing importance generally, and can be especially useful during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

To read the whole piece, please hit this link.


Time to curb measurement mania in health care?

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, an article by J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., in NEJM Catalyst notes how the pace of health-care quality improvement in the United States has been slow, and so he writes: “After two decades of efforts relying largely on quality measurement and performance-linked payment incentives, we need new ideas and new conversations. As revealed by health care workers’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic, professionalism in health care may be an underused resource.”

He suggests that “Reframing quality improvement around the linchpin of care delivery — physician agency — could provide much-needed direction by elucidating strategies that address problems of information or motivation when professionals act as agents on their patients’ behalf. These strategies need not rely on measures.”

To read the article, please hit this link.


6 reasons your management strategy isn’t working, especially in COVID-19 time

Michael Beer, writing in the Harvard Business Review, lists the reasons as:

#1: Unclear values and conflicting priorities.

#2: An ineffective senior team.

#3: Ineffective leadership styles

#4: Poor coordination.

#5: Inadequate leadership development.

#6: Inadequate vertical communication.

To read the article, please hit this link.


How a Madrid hospital modified management in COVID-19 crisis

Read how a public institution, Rey Juan Carlos University Hospital, in Madrid, acted swiftly to modify spaces, staffing and responsibilities to treat both COVID-19 patients and those without the disease to provide the critical staffing and material resources, and information, that hospital leaders have needed to manage during the COVID-19 crisis in Spain, among the world’s worst.

In an article in NEJM Catalyst, four physician leaders at the hospital say:

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have continuously evaluated and adapted to our circumstances. This was initially done on a daily basis, enabling us to quickly adjust staff roles as of the fourth day of the state of alarm declared in Spain. For example, we managed our physician corps by adding or transforming roles, including the addition of reserve personnel, while respecting rest times.”

And:

“To most effectively organize these changes in physician roles, we defined needs (‘COVID-19 shifts’), the daily tasks to be carried out under each position, and the person assigned to that activity. This information is contained in a document available to all physicians via the hospital intranet. Updated in real time, it sets out the plan for the following week.”

“Members of our Covid teams have gradually become opinion leaders and role models of best practices.”

“Every day, a multidisciplinary crisis management team made up of hospital managers, the office of the medical director, the nursing director, preventive medicine, microbiology, and leaders in internal medicine, the ICU, and critical care gather to discuss problems and solutions around spaces and staffing. Meetings like these have helped to build the ONE TEAM concept, reminding us that we depend on each other to deliver the best possible care.”

They conclude:

“Looking back over the past two months, we have met the challenges posed by this pandemic thanks to the great capacity for coordination and plasticity shown by our health care professionals and to the leadership of our centralized hospital management team. We are now working to update all the resources we have been using in case there is a new curve.”

To read the article, please hit this link.


Unifying two business concepts to improve care

An article ((subscription required to read) in NEJM Catalyst argues that unifying the Shingo Model and the Baldridge Excellence Framework can help health-care leaders formalize management practices and improve care.

Please hit this link.


Many ACO’s may bail out of program because of pandemic

FierceHealthcare reports that a recent survey of risk-based Accountable Care Organizations found that “56 percent are likely to leave the program due to concerns about having to repay losses stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.”

“The survey released Monday by the National Association of ACOs comes as health-care facilities are struggling to stay afloat due to financial pressures from the outbreak. Risk-based ACOs also have a major deadline of May 31 to give notice to the Trump administration to avoid paying losses or get any shared savings.”

“Medicare’s decade-long effort to change how we pay for health care to better reward quality and outcomes may be lost unless Washington acts quickly to throw these providers a lifeline,” said NAACOS president and CEO Clif Gaus.

To read the full article, please hit this link.


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