In an era of healthcare reform, more health systems are consolidating. By doing so, many aim to reduce cost of ownership, increase negotiating clout with suppliers and improve standardization of care. However, consolidation can lead to a disjointed culture when disparate facilities attempt to move under one umbrella organization.
In order to thrive in a time of change, healthcare leaders need to foster a positive, unified healthcare culture. Here are three ways that executives can promote a cohesive healthcare culture within their organizations.
Place Strong Leaders on the Front Lines
When executives want to implement a cultural shift, it’s important to make sure the right individuals are in position to promote change. Carol Aaron, PeaceHealth senior vice president of people and culture, says that she begins with her staff when promoting a cultural shift.
“Do you have the right people in place?” she said in an interview with HealthLeaders Media. “The scope of what we expect of some of our frontline supervisors, frontline managers, is just daunting and 24/7. You have to manage 100 -150 people, engage them, make sure you’re meeting your metrics, do quality, hold huddles, do all the good things we ask of them.”
Provide Teams with the Right Tools
Next, Aaron says that she makes it a priority to ensure that the team – from upper management to hospital housekeeping staff – have the tools they need to do their jobs.
Aaron says that whatever her team needs, it’s vital that she provide it. “We have very good people doing the job and who want to do their job, but they sometimes don’t have resources to do it. They don’t know where we’re going or how to best help this patient navigate through this system.”
Communicate the “Why”
Challenging the status quo and working toward constant improvement, from reducing errors to boosting employee engagement, is necessary in a continuously evolving environment. As an organization morphs, leaders must effectively communicate the “why” behind change to foster employee support.
“We have  hospitals,” says Aaron. “[W]e’re going to have to rebuild confidence and trust in our vision and our strategies. And it comes back to the basics of why are we doing it? The why of our mission and values, which is really about our communities and the people we care for.”
Implement a Unified Healthcare Culture
Healthcare leaders are frequently working to foster unified organizational culture, even as facilities consolidate. By placing the right leaders on the front lines, ensuring team members have the right tools and communicating the “why”, healthcare executives can promote a cohesive healthcare culture within their organizations.
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