Pick up any journal or open any online healthcare publication and you’re likely to read about best practices for clinical and operational excellence. Many of these practices have been wildly successful in organizations across the world yet, when it comes to the patient experience, some just don’t take hold.
It’s not unusual to meet with leaders who tell me about their past efforts both with and without consulting firms that have not been successful. In virtually every situation, it wasn’t the best practice that fell short, but the culture in which it was implemented. The culture wasn’t ready to begin or sustain the best practice so the entire thing was written off as a failure. A flavor of the month.
So often these tactics are assigned without context. They are seen as tasks. Another thing to do in an already busy day. People need to understand why they are being asked to perform certain actions. They need to understand: Why does it matter? What does it mean for the patient? How will this affect me? All of these are questions that need to be answered, not just in the beginning, but throughout the life of the practice. Reinforcing the “why” behind the best practice will help it gain traction. Describing results of the best practice along with a healthy dose of recognition will sustain it.
Leaders must assure that they are prepared to set the stage, reinforce efforts and measure results. All of these will increase your odds that a best practice will really be one that sticks in your organization.