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Culture, Not Tactics, Shape the Patient Experience

Posted by Kristin Baird on September 19th, 2017 • No Comments »

Patient experience literature is loaded with information about best practices. It’s tempting to dive right in and start implementing these tactics but without a supportive culture, those best practices will fail.

I see it all the time. Leaders from various healthcare organizations will tell us, “We tried [insert best practice here] and it didn’t work.” That comment always gets to me. A faulty piece of equipment doesn’t work, but when we’re talking about best practices like executive rounding or hourly rounding, it’s the execution that fails.

When we delve a bit deeper we inevitably find that the best practice tactic failed due to lack of accountability and ownership. If your culture lacks accountability and ownership, no best practice will stick.

When it comes to improving the patient experience, I find that there is no shortage of tactics. There is however a shortage of leadership and a shortage of cultures ready to foster best practices.

Not long ago, my team and I were doing a culture assessment that helped reveal valuable insights. During focus groups with employees we heard over and over, “Nothing sticks here. There’s no follow through and no consequences.” Even the executives shared the same sentiment which was astounding to me. It was clearly a culture that lacked accountability and ownership. Being passionate about service without follow through won’t achieve your goals.

If you find that you are spinning your wheels trying to implement best practices that don’t stick, it’s time to look deeper at your culture. What are the beliefs and attitudes among staff and managers that may be holding you back? What are the leadership practices that help or hinder your progress? Delve deeper and you may find that it’s the culture preventing progress.

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Baird Consulting


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