Posted October 13, 2016

Patient-Centered Care: Connecting to the “Why” of Healthcare

Anyone who has attended a Studer Group Conference will be familiar with frequent references to the “why” of healthcare, which is expressed in different ways but always about providing the best possible patient care. This is the core purpose underlying all of healthcare and the starting point for organizational improvement.

In this five-part Insight series, we will dive in to several key topics presented at Studer Conferences Toronto 2016, beginning with the “why” of healthcare. The follow-up Insight will begin to explore an evidence-based framework for alignment and accountability, which also is used for overcoming challenges discussed later in the series.

The “why” of healthcare was the focus of a keynote talk by Eric Hanna, president and CEO of Arnprior Regional Health (ARH), who explained that the why involves both the organizational mission – at ARH this focuses on delivering “exemplary care” every day – and the personal motivations that drive each clinician and staff member. Since implementing Evidence-Based LeadershipSM in 2011, ARH has used the vital and often challenging process of staying focused on core purpose to drive consistency in behaviors, build a culture of accountability, post improvements in key performance indicators and foster community partnerships. The bottom line for Eric Hanna is that “you can’t accelerate and maintain results unless you start with the why”.

The bottom line for Eric Hanna, president and CEO of Arnprior Regional Health, is that "you can’t accelerate and maintain results unless you start with the why".

This message was echoed by Liz Ruegg, president & CEO, Headwaters Health Care Center, who referred to her organization’s mission of “exceptional experience every time” as “the core of all of our strategies and everything we do”. Liz has crafted an outstanding clinical and health leadership career by always “putting patients first” and building a culture that supports “living the vision” on a day-to-day basis.

Ron Gagnon, president and CEO, Sault Area Hospital (SAH), talked about fiscal stewardship, and how his organization turned a decade of deficits into five consecutive years of surplus, while completing a new hospital ahead of schedule and under budget. Ron described a multi-faceted effort to align all functions to the patient-centered goals embodied in SAH’s “ICCARE” brand. Few resources are diverted elsewhere. Success is measured and celebrated, and there is a growing sense of pride across all departments. Outstanding financial performance is a by-product of SAH’s relentless focus on the why.

Connecting all we do to core purpose was a theme carried throughout the conference. The final keynote presentation was delivered by artist Tina Martel, a breast cancer survivor and author of Not in the Pink, the multi-award winning book about her patient journey. At this point in the agenda, the charts, graphs and bullet-points were replaced by evocative visual imagery and unvarnished recollections of what it’s like to work through an often mystifying health system from a patient’s perspective. Tina’s comments and readings were blunt, heartfelt and provocative. They fit perfectly, however, into this unique gathering of healthcare professionals, all of whom understood and appreciated her succinct summary comment: “I am the why.”

Print Page