Posted January 27, 2017

Discovering the Principles that Bring Diverse Ideas Together to Drive Healthcare Improvement

This seventh and final installment in our series on What's Right in Health Care considers some of the core principles that link together the diverse and often highly complex ideas presented and discussed. It builds on Part 6, our previous installment, which examined the "why" that underlies all that we do in healthcare.

"Connecting the dots" seemed to happen naturally at What's Right in Health Care 2016. Concepts like alignment and accountability, inspired leadership, change management, culture, "always", the combination of heart and mind, and connecting to core purpose were raised over and over, by many clinicians and administrators from large and small organizations serving patients of all kinds.

Shared thinking about key concepts is perhaps not surprising, and has always been a characteristic of What's Right in Health Care. Studer Group partners have been testing, applying, adapting, evolving and constantly improving an essentially common approach for over two decades.

Craig Deao, Studer Group senior leader, author and speaker, used his keynote session to pull together core ideas and introduce some of the most recent thinking on how Studer Group can best support its international network of partner organizations. He focused on engagement, starting with healthcare's extraordinary pool of human capital. He believes "we have some of the most talented, passionate people of any industry" and that leveraging this talent through key engagement strategies will be critical to success. Engagement is the new "core competency in healthcare", and the next round of resources from Studer Group will support engagement skills and competencies across all stakeholder groups.

There is new thinking, but also timeless principles that have been tested by hundreds of the best organizations and will continue to serve health leaders as demands evolve and environments change. These were summed up by Bob Murphy, president of the Sacred Heart/Providence Medical Group, Pensacola, Florida, in the final keynote talk. Many of these principles lined up perfectly with the engagement theme. Bob Murphy spoke of "telling your story", "listening to others" and "understanding what your team really wants". He talked about attitudes like humility and gratitude that make engagement possible. He also spoke of the commitment and discipline needed to follow through and deliver results; "Accountability means you mean it. Organizations and leaders that mean what they say just do better. Results are better. Patients get better care. Employees have better places to work and physicians have better places to practice."

Leading organizations will be incorporating new thinking and embracing change, while hardwiring proven behaviors and practices.

This year's conference was in many ways the most thought-provoking to date. The learning was intense. Speakers detailed a broad array of tools and strategies, applied across diverse systems and settings. The "why" was examined as deeply as the "what" and the "how". And the challenges of high value and high reliability were confronted with commitment and creativity.

It is anticipated that next year's conference will be even larger and more relevant. The coming months will be extremely important for health systems all over the world as ever-increasing demands for healthcare meet unprecedented rates of change. The work of established and emerging high-performers will be even more valuable.

These organizations - their leaders, staff, physicians and patients - will continue to refine proven methods. They will respond to the next round of innovation and change, introduce new thinking, shape new directions and, once again, demonstrate What's Right in Health Care. To learn more, visit WhatsRightInHealthCare.com

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