Healthcare News & Insights

4 strategies to make changes in your hospital

Whether it’s using new technology or implementing a different safety procedure, hospitals that want to make significant changes to how they deliver care must have certain elements present in their culture.

474518773Teaching hospitals tend to have the type of culture that’s conducive to change, according to a piece from Harvard Business Review (HBR).

Reason: These facilities are geared toward testing healthcare innovations, so they have the necessary infrastructure at their disposal, including access to top clinicians and the ability to implement research-based ideas for care.

Plus, clinical staff at teaching hospitals are receptive to making changes and using trial and error to tweak processes.

Success with new ideas

Although fostering this type of environment may be easier in an academic medical center, any type of hospital can take a page from teaching facilities to create an environment where hospital staff members are more receptive to working with new technologies and treatments.

Here are four keys to creating this kind of culture within your hospital, adapted from the HBR article:

  1. Emphasize the importance of innovation and continuous improvement. Here, hospitals must encourage clinical staff to go beyond the status quo. Promote an environment where your clinical staff feels comfortable asking questions and sharing ideas to improve care delivery.
  2. Promote openness to change from the top down. Hospital executives play a key role in shaping the culture of their entire institution. If you make it a priority to find new ways to boost your facility’s quality of care, the attitude will spread to your whole staff. It’s important to keep this philosophy in mind when drawing up budgets and looking at how your facility will meet quality benchmarks from the feds.
  3. Seek input from everyone in the planning phase. Before rolling out a new electronic health records (EHR) system or implementing a new hand-washing compliance program, identify everyone in your hospital who would be affected by the change. Then solicit their thoughts so you can address any concerns on the front end. Keeping staff members in the loop will help them feel better about the impending change.
  4. Start small and measure progress. It’s best to test any big changes on a smaller scale first. You may want to limit a new technology or procedure to one ward, and then expand to other parts of the hospital. That way, you can more easily iron out any kinks in the process without a drastic impact on your facility. Bonus: Your “early adopter” staff members can help train other staff on new protocol when you do introduce the changes to the whole hospital.

If you follow these steps for any innovative changes you make in your hospital, you’ll have more buy-in for future initiatives designed to improve patient care, and staff will have more positive feelings toward change overall. This environment will cultivate the kind of attitude that improves hospital safety and quality of care.

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