How new leadership approach aided Swedish Health's COVID-19 response

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, senior executives at Seattle-based Swedish Health Services said a new leadership approach to shift decisions to those closest to COVID-19 challenges has helped improve organizational agility.

The approach is aimed at making clear who is "Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed" on decisions. 

In the article Swedish senior executives said the approach "has flattened the hierarchy and empowered caregiver teams to craft creative responses to the unique challenges that COVID-19 poses."

At the crux of the approach is a delegation of authority. The senior executives said the organization's CEO, COO, chief clinical officer and chief nursing officer all have major roles, but Swedish is shifting as many decisions as possible to those closest to operational challenges.

They gave the example of intravenous pumps and a solution from a group of nurses. The senior executives said the nurses realized that keeping pumps outside hospital rooms allowed them to adjust them without having to put on and take off protective gear.

"Because the RACI approach creates natural paths for information to flow, we can capture and spread innovative practices," they wrote. "We're now creating a standard approach for safely moving pumps and other machines outside of isolation areas. It's a practice that has allowed us to accelerate our ability to learn and respond."

The Harvard Business Review article was authored by Christopher R. Dale, MD, chief quality officer of Swedish Health Services; Lynn Welling, MD, chief clinical officer of Swedish Health Services; and Chris Clearfield, CEO of System Logic and the co-author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It . Read the full article here.


More articles on leadership and management: 
Kaleida Health CEO postpones retirement, will remain at helm throughout pandemic
Kaiser Permanente sends coronavirus experts to Hawaii affiliate hospital battling cluster
Corner Office: Why AdventHealth exec Daryl Tol reads articles he disagrees with 

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