Proven solutions to hospital uncertainty: Yes, even VBP, HCAHPS, and the ACA

The healthcare industry is in a bit of a mess right now. We all know it. So, let’s just tell the truth.

This whitepaper provides hospital executives with effective, high-return solutions, by approaching the pressures in healthcare from a different perspective. Culture. Of course, if it’s all sunshine and rainbows at your hospital, never mind.

By ‘culture’, I mean a holistic approach to the entire experience had by everyone who interacts with your hospital, especially patients and employees. While often given minimal lip service by management, the culture of your hospital actually drives employee engagement, retention, and performance. This discussion treats it as a strategic concern which enables you to take control during these uncertain times.

Culture design is about more than just getting people to hold hands and play nice together. In fact, when done well, culture design results in decreased turnover, increased clinical productivity, and improved employee/patient satisfaction - with a significant financial impact. This return on investment will both:

1) Show up on your P&L
2) Serve as a bulkhead against the turmoil in the market.

This turmoil is substantial. Hospitals are dealing with frustrating uncertainty, the shift to Value Based Payments, challenges with physician compensation, a millennial workforce that’s less loyal than other employees, and overall lower employee engagement.

But, why culture? And, why now? …Because culture drives how employees feel about working at your hospital, independent of market conditions. And this drives productivity, discretionary effort, patient care and ultimately how your patients view every aspect of their experience, which is statistically more important than clinical excellence.

In over 130 interviews with high-performing CEOs, across a wide variety of industries, culture was almost universally cited as the single most important factor contributing to company success.

How does culture design work? There are standard approaches that you may already be doing, like investing in benefits and programs or training. Now, new methodologies for cultural immersion are available which make your culture infectious, so that desired attitudes penetrate people’s hearts and minds. These desired behaviors become cultural norms that socially bind caregivers to best practices, and give patients a far better experience. Results are trackable, measurable and the entire organization is transformed. Cultural immersion helps hospitals go far beyond *talking* about the values, to create an environment that employees can’t escape, that reinforces the culture. It’s right in front of them all day, every day—when you can’t be there to model the behavior for them.

How does cultural immersion affect hospital financials? We’ve seen turnover down by 50%, productivity up by 15%, and 1-2 point increases in patient satisfaction HCAHPS scores.

Yes, discussions about culture can devolve into spewing lofty platitudes. And, platitudes don’t cut it when real people are facing real pressure. I’m not advocating this kind of sickening hypocrisy. Instead, what I recommend is undertaking an authentic effort to ensure your hospital is a hospitable and enjoyable place to work, while healthcare rides out this storm. And this effort will pay off in financial results that you can take to the bank and to your board.

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