Transforming Your Workforce to Deliver More

Posted: Updated:

Imagine running a company where customers show up at your door day or night wanting immediate service. Every order is customized, with almost infinite options, but your responses must be by-the-book because everything you do is highly regulated. And when it comes time to pay, a third party -- not the customer -- foots most of the bill.

That’s the hospital business in a nutshell. It’s no wonder business guru Peter Drucker said that no organization in society is more difficult to manage than hospitals.

At Indiana University Health, our 33,000 team members are re-inventing their jobs as we learn better ways to manage this complex business.

IU Health’s workforce is hardly alone as it transforms itself in the quest for quality. But allow me to share some insights – and struggles – from IU Health’s deep dive into transforming its work culture in the name of improved patient care.

     • Adaptability and flexibility. Hospitals are the ultimate 24-7 business. (Many patients can’t leave if they want to.) But hospitals are admittedly expensive and not easy for everyone to access. So we’re opening more physicians’ clinics, urgent care centers and even telemedicine services to offer patients more affordable, convenient care.

To staff a growing statewide system of 15 hospitals and hundreds of other care facilities in Indiana, we need team members who are more diversely trained than ever. Beyond that familiar pairing of doctor-nurse, today’s healthcare jobs have expanded to include such essential new roles as physician assistants, nurse practitioners and patient financial navigators. At the same time, traditional jobs have broadened in scope. Housekeepers, for instance, are key members of infection control teams.

     • Zero defects. My 30 years in healthcare have seen a transformation away from accepting errors as inevitable. At IU Health (like at other health systems) we strive to get it right every time.

We’re going to unprecedented lengths to train our team members to avoid causing infections and medical errors. Metrics and quality dashboards tell us about every patient harm event and measure safety efforts (something that didn’t exist years ago).

It’s working. In 2016, patient harm events dropped 18 percent systemwide. At some individual hospital nursing units, teams have cut patient harm incidents to zero for a year or more at a time.

     • Every frontline worker is critical to success. Tracking patient satisfaction scores, we realize that everyone who works with patients must do their job correctly every time. Housekeepers, patient transporters and others who don’t have an MD or RN behind their names need to follow protocols as strictly as those who do. That means robust training and constant checkups to be sure every patient encounter is handled right.

I first learned that lesson as a teen working at a corner grocery in Knightstown, Ind. As a stockboy who didn’t face customers like the butcher or cashier did, I was told by my boss to keep an eye out for shoppers who needed help reaching an item high on a shelf or toting groceries to their car.

     • Breaking down silos. This is a special passion of mine. Employees can’t stay in their occupational silos anymore, concerned with just therapy, nutrition, anesthesia or whatever specialized work they do. Our business of healthcare, like others, has become too complex to think narrowly. So, using the theories of complexity science, we are teaching our work teams to self-organize around value streams to meet the demands of the moment.

Our hospitals and other care sites now are the setting for hundreds of daily work huddles, where teams brief and prep for the new day, react to unexpected issues during the day or handoff their work (and daily learnings) to a new team at the end of a shift. The goal: to perform flawlessly for those they serve, no matter the time of day or personnel on hand.

We’ve made great strides transforming our workforce to deliver more value in the face of unpredictability and complexity. But I know we are still in the intense part of our learning journey.

In the months ahead we at IU Health look forward to sharing more about this journey in this space. After all, this quality journey never ends and we’re all in it together.

  • Perspectives

    • (photo courtesy of Conexus)

      Getting the Word Out About Manufacturing & Logistics

      As the epicenter of the nation’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, Indiana has a compelling story to tell about how Hoosier companies make and move the goods people depend on every day. Our goal is to ensure everyone hears these stories – many of which share a common theme focused on cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the way products are made and moved around the world and the people who use them. Conexus Indiana launched an...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Historic Hospital to be Torn Down in Gary

      A building that once represented the racial divide in the city of Gary, but long provided health care to the African American community, will soon fall to a wrecking ball. The city says it intends to raze the long-abandoned St. John’s Hospital. 

    • Parkview Heart Institute is part of the Parkview Health System

      Most Wired Hospitals in Indiana Ranked

      A national association of healthcare information executives has once again honored Fort Wayne-based Parkview Health for its commitment to using advanced technologies in their clinical and business operations. The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives says Parkview is ranked in the 97th percentile of organizations surveyed for the program, earning a “Most Wired” distinction. 

    • (photo courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Valpo Approves Plan to Level Mansion, Build New Homes

      The property where an aged, Victorian-era, mansion in Valparaiso currently stands will become the site of 15 new homes, described as “upscale.” The Valparaiso Board of Zoning Appeals approved the variances needed for Downtown Valparaiso Partners LLC to proceed with the project, according to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana. 

    • Eleven Fifty was previously headquartered at Launch Fishers.

      Eleven Fifty to Cut Ribbon on New Location

      Eleven Fifty Academy will cut the ribbon on its new downtown location September 23. The nonprofit coding academy says it will host a grand opening ceremony November 6. 

    • The Honda Greensburg plant opened in 2008.

      Honda to Invest $4M, Add Jobs at Greensburg Plant

      The American Honda Motor Co. continues to invest in its Greensburg, Indiana plant as it has announced the factory will be producing the company’s first electrified sport utility vehicle in the U.S. The company says it will invest more than $4 million and add 34 new jobs in the plant to support production of the CR-V Hybrid.