What Drives People or Organizations to Really Change in Healthcare?

What Drives People or Organizations to Really Change in Healthcare?

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Being a provider for over 25 years, I’ve seen the best and worst in our US healthcare system. My true lament is that we have a broken system inside and out. Without getting deep in the political debate or finger pointing, I think a fair and balanced approach is best. My humble suggestion is to simply ask – what is wrong with the system? I would offer that is it important to start to analyze the question from the inside out, including organization leaders and individual providers in the process. As my grandmother always said a good place to start is at the beginning.. Probably taken from the Julie Andrew song in the Sound of Music, which says…

“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”

Let’s begin with these questions in mind – What are the drivers of change for organizations and providers alike? What motivates them to want to start something or change something different? What’s important to the organization to give them inertia to change? What motivates doctors, nurses and ultimately us, as individuals, to change? What’s impacts us enough to change direction? There are many theories in the literature: motivation theories, organization change management theories, Herzberg, Kotter, Lewin, … but I will offer a simple phase of words which I have found very helpful anecdotally over the years, that help me understand the drivers and motivation of change. I call this list my famous “F” words:

What would happen if… organizations really tried to understand the list of (F) words that were important to providers:

“What’s in it for me?”

“Can the EHR go any faster?”

“Is this mandatory education fun?”

“Does this conference have food?”

“Is the family involved in this decision?”

“When was the last time I got any feedback?”

What would happen if… providers really tried to understand the list of (F) words that were important to organizations?

“What new federal regulation is coming out next year?”

“How does this impact our department budget finances?”

“Is this new project really feasible right now?”

“Could this report damage our public fame and reputation?”

“How does this practice meet our fiduciary responsibly to the community?”

So, I challenge the organization leaders, doctors and nurses to:

1. Review my famous (F) list above and add your ideas, comments and suggestions.

2. Try and see the others viewpoint. What really matters to the other party?

Maybe if we cross the aisle, we can appreciate a deeper understanding of what drives key stakeholders in healthcare, your team, your department, and your colleagues. Let’s seek to meet THEIR needs and THEIR wants. And maybe then, we can have real progress towards making lasting change in healthcare – 1 person, 1 department, 1 organization at a time. By starting with ourselves FIRST, at the very beginning, we have the ability to see the big picture to effect change at various levels, both horizontally and vertically. By fixing things from the inside out first, we can lead necessary change in the greater healthcare ecosystem impacting policy, interoperability, payment, patient engagement, population health and much more.

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