En­gage­ment: a core com­pe­tency for health­care

Modern Healthcare - - BEST PLACES TO WORK 2016 - Deb­bie Ritchie Pres­i­dent Studer Group

We each got into health­care to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers. As health­care providers, the most ful­fill­ing days are re­al­ized when pa­tients are en­gaged with their own health and with their care­givers. The more we fo­cus on help­ing oth­ers en­gage, the more we en­gage our­selves.

To truly trans­form health­care—to de­liver higher qual­ity at lower cost—we must en­gage pa­tients in their own care, so that they take own­er­ship for ac­tion be­tween doc­tor vis­its.

Shift­ing forces. All kinds of mar­ket forces are con­verg­ing to cre­ate ur­gency for en­gage­ment. There’s the in­dus­try move to pre­ven­tive care un­der pop­u­la­tion health; a slew of fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive pro­grams by the CMS; and savvy new com­peti­tors—like CVS Minute Clin­ics—en­ter­ing the mar­ket. And that’s just a few for starters. Never have the stakes been so high.

Tak­ing own­er­ship. A cul­ture of high en­gage­ment flows from the lead­ers in an or­ga­ni­za­tion to its em­ploy­ees and care­givers first, and then to pa­tients. En­gage­ment starts at the top with main­tain­ing trans­par­ent and open com­mu­ni­ca­tion, set­ting clear ex­pec­ta­tions, build­ing trust, and re­quir­ing per­sonal ac­count­abil­ity. How­ever, lead­ers can’t force en­gage­ment. Each in­di­vid­ual must also take re­spon­si­bil­ity for own­ing it. Know­ing what mat­ters most. What do em­ploy­ees need to en­gage? They want and need to feel a sense of pur­pose, that they’re do­ing worth­while work, and that they are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. They want and need to feel val­ued and to have good re­la­tion­ships with their lead­ers. They want op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and ca­reer ad­vance­ment.

Physi­cians also need con­nec­tion to pur­pose and they en­gage more when they have op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide in­put and give feed­back. They value ef­fi­ciency in car­ing for their pa­tients and ap­pre­ci­a­tion—from pa­tients and lead­ers—for the con­tri­bu­tions they make.

Ev­i­dence-based Lead­er­ship is the an­swer. The good news is that we know what works to hard­wire a cul­ture of high en­gage­ment for all stake­hold­ers—em­ploy­ees, physi­cians and pa­tients. The best way to in­spire en­gage­ment is to con­nect with both our hearts and our minds. Au­then­tic­ity, trust and em­pa­thy lay the ground­work. Proven tools and tac­tics to set clear goals, com­mu­ni­cate with trans­parency, and eval­u­ate per­for­mance will steer the ship to break­through re­sults and high re­li­a­bil­ity.

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