Healthcare Leadership Can Mean
Only One Thing… and it’s NOT
Obamacare or “Lean” Management
Thirty years of healthcare and medical practice-development have led me to conclude that some doctors, many therapists and most nurses get it! They understand that healthcare and healthcare leadership is personal, professional and passionate.
Sadly, a great many healthcare business executives and a good number of providers have sidetracked themselves into thinking that HEALTHCARE is all about slogans, smiling doctor billboards, malpractice insurance fees and reimbursement battles.
Reckless opinionated media “reporting” has drawn healthcare providers and business managers into a tangle of confusion. Talking heads thrive on using every opportunity to convolute issues, stir up doubt, be confrontational, and aggrandize politicians who support their network bosses and stockholders. It’s all a game, and we the people are losing.
Increasingly, government political (and more quietly, insurance company) empty suits are playing God. They are continually trying to convince the world that they are answering the call for qualified healthcare leadership. They, after all, proclaim to know more than we do about what diagnostic, treatment, and doctor choice decisions are best for each of us and our families.
They can live in Nevada and pretend to understand what healthcare is about in New Jersey or Tennessee or Maine. I don’t think so! They’re just protecting their own political profiles, pursuits and plans. And many top healthcare executives simply add fuel to the fire by talking and acting like healthcare is simply a maze of administrative or operational management techniques, methods, or styles that they alone have the answers to.
Well, guess what? Reality Check:
HEALTHCARE IS ABOUT PEOPLE!
You’re healthy, you want to stay healthy. You’re sick, you want to get healthy. That’s it! What part of “get and stay healthy” is so hard to understand?
What are all these other hocus-pocus theories, political scams, new tech apps, insurance deals, Congressional posturing, and media “findings” but diversionary tactics? Is it or is it not “dancing around the issues” in an attempt to look good, or to make money, or to win votes . . . instead of just sitting down and solving the damn problem?
Healthcare professionals justifiably rely heavily on emerging technology and associated improvements in methodologies like the “Lean” management fad. But (and this is a big but) . . . BUT these are only tools. In the wrong hands, even a hammer can miss driving nails.
The bottom line is that leadership in healthcare
means stepping up to more than a diagnostic or
treatment provider role. It means having an
Advocacy Attitude . . . being on the patient’s side!
Imagine if every encounter a patient or patient family had with a healthcare provider could be –as was recently noted here in exemplary fashion by Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute provider and provider support staffers– a remarkable, high-five, bend-over-backwards experience . . . professional providers and caregivers acting like advocates on behalf of each patient and family!
Imagine if every patient and patient family could be trained in advance of every provider diagnostic or treatment exam to better manage anxiety. My best guess is that 3-4 minutes of every doctor exam are consumed with getting the patient to relax. With a 12-minute per patient insurance company limit imposed on the doctor in order to be reimbursed, that leaves 8-9 minutes to diagnose or treat . . . none of which ordinarily go well when distress is present. This is not rocket science. It is not a Madison Avenue branding campaign. It is not politics. It is reality.
Done correctly, these solutions cost nothing but initial investments in time and energy and perhaps some coaching. What’s the expected result? More accurate diagnostic readings and better receptivity to treatments. Happier patients and patient families (whose testimonials to others increase volume and referrals), improved staff teamwork, happier provider and staff and their families (who benefit from “take home” method values). Even happier insurance providers.
So, if skills, training and experience are all present, the “tipping point” factor comes full circle back to, yes, bedside manners!