Visiting a hospital can be an emotional roller coaster, filled with highs, lows and everything in between. Before a procedure, we behave like detectives, fact checkers and truth seekers. Each new piece of information is cause for celebration. Afterward, most of us experience an overwhelming sense of relief for having gathered enough intelligence to satisfy our need for the familiar.
Despite everything we’ve learned, the intricacies of healing and saving lives often still feel like a mystery. Thankfully, the healthcare industry has made great strides to change that impression so patients and their families can become better partners in recovery.
I feel fortunate to have witnessed some of these profound changes first hand as a board member on Penn State’s Enterprise Strategic Counsel to Penn State Health. Penn State Health and other leading medical centers have learned that sharing information means sharing power, and when patients are empowered, greater outcomes happen.
Giving patients access to online information, for example, has created a dramatic shift in how leaders manage their hospitals. It’s now possible for dozens of healthcare websites to help consumers search, compare and access information such as patient satisfaction, outcome quality, and costs of common procedures. One organization, in particular, is the nation’s premier advocate of hospital transparency and publicly ranks hospitals annually.
This level of transparency in hospitals has created an impactful ripple effect in how they approach healthcare management. Bankable Leadership author, Tasha Eurich, reports that executives now:
Forge connections where barriers used to exist
Leaders engage doctors as partners in management rather than purely service providers. That means doing away with perceived barriers and teaming up administrators and physicians with an eye on patient care and the bottom line.
Develop leadership skills in the trenches
Administrators spend time with bedside staff, providing “real-time coaching” to improve the patient experience. Executives also collaborate with front-line hospital employees on leadership development so patients leave more satisfied with their hospital interactions.
Measure performance by new metrics
Rather than look at the volume of patients served or “bodies in beds,” executives have an eye on providing superior care. Jacob Wiesmann, CFO of a New Hampshire medical facility says, “Hospitals are no longer hospitals; we are health care companies that are directly accountable to customers.”
Thanks to pacesetters in transparency, we’re experiencing incredible advances in patient care in top hospitals all over the country. The availability of information has prompted executives to ask themselves, “How do we compare?” Hospital CEOs of tomorrow know that mending people and managing care means demystifying medicine and embracing practices that link front-line staff, nurses, physicians and administrators to one common focus: the patient experience.
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