'We need to acknowledge people are smart and their health is important to them,' says Hennepin County Medical Center's Sheri Johnson

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Sheri Johnson, director of revenue enhancement and patient access services at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Ms. Johnson will speak on a panel during the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference that is titled "Key Improvements and Biggest Challenges in the Revenue Cycle," at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: Can you share your best advice for motivating your teams?

Sheri Johnson: Motivating your team starts with getting to know your team. What's important to them? What makes them tick? Find out. Take time to be visible. Spend time in the breakroom or wherever people congregate. Ask about their kids, their vacation, their hobbies, what they're having for lunch, etc. Have conversations. Share yourself and build relationships. People are much more engaged when they feel cared for and cared about by their leader. Engaged people don't need to "be motivated," they are motivated.

Q: What is your No. 1 dealbreaker when it comes to evaluating vendor partnerships?

SJ: Vendors who speak poorly about the competition. Tell me why I want you, not why I don't want someone else. When I hear vendors talk poorly about someone else, it makes me think they don't have enough positive things to say about their own organization and/or product. Also, if you talk poorly about competitors, how do you talk about customers?

Q: What's one conviction in healthcare that needs to be challenged?

SJ: The idea that healthcare is too complicated for patients to manage on their own. Set up your own payment plan? No way — you don't understand how complicated the billing is. Schedule your own appointment? No way — do you know how complicated appointment scheduling is? Create your own price estimate? No way — we can't even create a realistic estimate. Choose an option for your treatment plan? No way — how do you possibly know what's best for you? I know what's best for you. The examples go on and on.

We need to acknowledge people are smart and their health is important to them. If we provide the right tools and appropriate information, they can truly be partners in their care and service.

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