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In a ‘culture of ‘we” who is ‘we’?

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Jack McNamara, a  consultant and a former senior vice president of Sentara Health, writes in Hospitals & Health Networks, about the need for creating and maintaining a “culture of we” in healthcare institutions and how to achieve it.

Among his remarks:

“When we say, ‘We will excel at delivering on the value promise,’ who are we talking about? Does ‘we’ include the shared-risk partners needed for success, such as rehab, home health, skilled nursing facilities, behavioral health, pharmacy and so forth? Certainly, a clear understanding of what our vision entails must include thousands of front-line caregivers — and most critical to our success, physicians. When asked if this vision statement includes them, most employed physicians say yes. But the majority of the medical staff at large, i.e., those not employed by the hospital or system, will quite often state that they are not involved: ‘That is the hospital’s thing.”’

“If all of these caregivers need to be included in the ‘we,’ do they know it? Are they represented in planning initiatives? Is there real-time communication and coordination across the continuum of care? Are they involved in establishing and monitoring the metrics on which they will be judged?”

“When our continuum partners and our physicians and community service entities are made to feel that they are indeed partners in a significant effort to deliver value to the community, their interests will be the same as ours. When the culture inside the organization, at the day-to-day delivery level, is one in which all of the employees understand the vision and know where they add value, goals will be achieved. The culture of ‘we’ is one in which employees are eager to participate in driving value and have no trouble coaching others in ‘the way we do things here.”‘

“It is totally unrealistic to think that a hospital or health care system can be successful in the world of value-based payment without a true partnership with its physicians. They are the critical component of ‘we.’ And yet, in too many hospitals, the struggle is the same as it has been for decades. Alignment and engagement remain elusive, and there is no simple solution.”

To read all his comments, please hit this link.

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