Hospital CEO Chat Series Part 1: Why New Thinking and Culture Change are Critical

We’ve had the pleasure recently of interviewing several hospital CEOs about their recent successful transformation initiatives, which have driven huge gains in patient care quality, overall efficiency, and hospital financial performance. We shared edited videos of the interviews here.

CEOChat1-CultureChangeNewThinkingNow we will begin a series of more detailed posts from the interviews to provide the perspectives of these innovative leaders on a variety of transformation topics. Each post will focus on one question. We begin with the shift in thinking about care delivery that often launches hospital transformation efforts by asking three CEOs this question:

Why do hospitals need to think differently about efficiency and reliability in care?

Peter Selman, CEO of Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery, Ala.

Peter Selman, CEO of Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery, Ala.

Peter Selman: “Well there’s a famous author and management consultant named Peter Drucker, who…once said that even small health care institutions are complex, barely manageable organizations, and large health care organizations and institutions may be the most complex organizations in human history. And that really sets the tone for the need for hospitals to improve efficiency, and I think that’s probably the first step. It’s kind of like an alcoholic at Alcoholics Anonymous: first thing you have to do is stand up and say ‘I’m an alcoholic and I have a problem.’ And we, as an industry in health care have to decide and admit that we’re not very efficient entities, and [a logistical approach to care coordination can] improve that.”

Steven Scogna: “With the government and federal legislation and the payers all combining to look forward into the future to kind of align the incentives between hospitals and physicians and other providers, we felt it was imperative that we had to change the approach that we were taking to health care.

Steve Scogna, President and CEO, Northwest Community Hospital near Chicago

Well in effect what it’s doing, the alignment in the changes of the way the care coordination is being done, it is now imperative for physicians and all the caregivers to work together, and they [have incentives] to work together. In the old system they were not incented, and so there might be disparate processes that people weren’t as coordinated in their approach. Now it’s imperative that the hospitals, the caregivers are all aligned and they’re all incented through different forms of higher quality and more cost-efficient care.

Well, the Aim for Excellence (NCH’s transformation initiative) for us and for me is really a genuine culture change here for Northwest Community. We’re structured in a way that we want to make sure that we are changing the way that we view how we take care of patients. It has to be patient-focused and to provide the best possible service for every single patient. We believe that the Care Logistics model and the work that we’re doing through our Aim for Excellence will achieve that.”

Daniel Moen

Daniel P. Moen, President and CEO of Sisters of Providence Health System and leader of Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass.

Daniel Moen: “There are a lot of pressures in the healthcare system these days for lower cost, higher quality, more value and more community involvement. So all these pressures mean that we have to be more efficient, and we have to be more effective in taking care of patients, and [a logistical control system for care delivery] is really a way for us to help get that done.

Well, I arrived here three and a half years ago at the Sisters of Providence Health System, and the institution was struggling at that time. It was struggling financially; it was struggling operationally. Quality scores and patient satisfaction scores were not where we wanted them to be, so we knew we had to make some significant changes in the organization to get where we wanted to be, and Care Logistics has really helped us to bridge that gap.

In order to be successful in this very rapidly changing healthcare environment, we have to be efficient and have to be effective. We have to be predictable as far as our flow and our patient outcomes are concerned. The [logistics-based, centralized care coordination approach] has helped us by really reducing variation in the hospital, by giving real time information to staff across departments, not just in departments, and it has allowed us to smooth out our flow a significantly, all the way from the ER to the inpatient stays to a patient’s discharge.”

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