Hospital CEO Chat Part 3: Cannonball! The Full Commitment Required to Make Transformation Succeed

“Transformation is not a project; it’s a journey.” – Daniel Moen, CEO, Sisters of Providence Health System and Mercy Medical Center

Cannonball2!Dan shares perhaps the most important principle of hospital transformation: It’s not a quick fix. It’s not a departmental performance project. It’s not a technology upgrade. It’s a new way of thinking and doing business everyday for everyone in the hospital, with the passionate focus on every patient’s care and experience. We’ve seen hospitals fall short when they adopt only parts of a logistical transformation approach–software without clear standard operating procedures, or new processes without total cultural unity and enthusiasm.

So we asked several CEOs to share their perspectives about the organizational commitment required for hospitals to realize the dramatic and sustained benefits of transformation to reliable, predictable operations through logistics:

What level of leadership and organizational commitment is required to make transformation succeed?

Peter Selman

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

Peter Selman: “The chief executive officer of Baptist Health, Russ Tyner, is fond of saying that sometimes we just need to do a cannonball off the high dive, make a big splash in the things that we do. You cannot dip your toe in the water and be successful with this [transformation] initiative. You’ve got to do that cannonball off the high dive to make a big splash, and that’s where the cultural piece of this comes into play. And it is a journey, and life’s about picking partners, and Care Logistics has been a fantastic partner for us. But we’ve been able to quantify the impact that this relationship has had, and when you’re able to drive out inefficiencies and you’re able to standardize processes, we know we deliver safer care, we’ve been able to reduce our average length of stay, we’ve been able to lower are direct variable expenses per day, and all of those things are not independent or mutually exclusive of improving patient experience or patient safety or patient quality of care. In fact, they’re all very in hand in hand, so this journey has been very, very effective for us.

The journey [with a logistical care delivery model] is a commitment, and that’s why getting everyone on board and getting people in the right places is so important. And it is a commitment. It is our operating system. (Holds up an iPhone) Everybody’s got one of these, right? Everybody has an operating system, and on my iPhone is the iOS operating system. This is not a new initiative. If you go to your organization and talk to your leaders and say ‘hey, this is going to be our new initiative and we’re going to pile it on with all these other things,’ that’s I think the wrong approach. I think a better approach is just, this is the new way of doing things, this is our new OS, this is our new operating system. So when you make a commitment like that, yeah, it makes you a little bit nervous, it makes you a little bit anxious about what kind of commitment we’re going to make in terms of human resources and personnel and finances, but it’s been a terrific journey. We’ve had great support from the team at Care Logistics. We found to be a very worthwhile investment.”

Dr. Patrick Taylor

Dr. Patrick Taylor, CEO, Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Dr. Patrick Taylor: “[The new logistical operating system] was a significant transformational change for us. Like any change, you have to have the senior leadership on board: they have to be visible; they have to be able to support it, and then you need to motivate the rest of the organization. I think initially, truthfully, we may have underestimated the amount of change that it was going to take. And so we had to go back, readdress the fact that it takes quite a lot to change the culture. But Care Logistics was right there as a partner with us when we went back and reintroduced, retaught the new processes, and now I’m happy to say that it is stuck. It is become a way of life for us instead of just another project. It really is the way we take care of patients on a day-to-day basis.”

Daniel Moen

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

Daniel Moen: “The implementation of the [logistical care delivery] system is a big deal; it is a lot of change. But this was done in a way that really was so positive that I virtually got no negative feedback on implementation of the system throughout the process. Whether it was early in the process, in the actual implementation phase, and those were exciting days, to the post-implementation improvements that we’re making. We’re still working with the Care Logistics leadership to make changes in the system that are going to help…us in the long run.

[Transformation partner Care Logistics has] a proven method to roll these systems out in a hospital, and we followed each and every one of those suggestions. They really were part of our team; they weren’t just an outside organization. They really helped us come in and make these changes internally. They also provided a lot of information for the staff that were involved in these process changes, you know, from putting together our present state, where we wanted our future state to look at, the timelines were all there for us to follow, and as a result of that we had a successful implementation. The other thing I have to say is they really helped the senior leadership team pull together here in a way that they hadn’t before. The culture change had to start with us. And really it has helped to jump-start this throughout the organization.”

Dr. Ann Errichetti, CEO, St. Peter's Hospital

Dr. Ann Errichetti, CEO, St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, N.Y.

Dr. Ann Errichetti: “I can tell you a year and a half later we’ve been through a great deal of learning here; I have been, we have been as an organization, and nothing is ever plug-and-play. Some people thought, ‘Buy this product and it will make all this change happen.’ What is true is that we’ve been able to make all the change…happen in a lot shorter time frame than had we decided to undertake this initiative on our own. I mean clearly we had to improve length of stay, clearly we had to improve efficiency, and we could have done it in a variety of ways, but I do believe that the [comprehensive logistics-based approach] coupled with our leadership commitment to make positive improvements have been are a terrific combination. It really requires commitment on the part of leadership to really make things change.”

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

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

Steve Scogna: “When you’re in a leadership role what you want to do is you want to make sure that you’re doing things that are really for the sole purpose of the organization or what the purpose of this organization is all about, and for us that’s taking care this community, that’s taking care of those patients in the best way possible, and to do that and also begin to evolve a cultural change within an organization, it was scary, but at the same point in time, very, very exciting and, now, gratifying.

It was a major cultural change at a time where this industry was going through radical change, and so you always pause as a leader to say: am I doing the right thing? And for me it has really proven to be, really, exactly what the doctor ordered, so to speak. It has been a cultural focal point that people understand why they have to change, and it’s given them a purpose and it all surrounds the patient. So, yes, I was nervous at the beginning of this process, but as we’ve kicked it off I couldn’t be more proud of this organization, of our staff, and of the work that we’ve been able to do with the Care Logistics team.”

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