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So “Radical” Was the Correct Term?

Posted Apr 08 2010 7:22am
In 1987, my healthcare journey began in administration by asking the question, “ Why are hospitals the way the are? “  It was a sincere inside/out question that had evolved from my having been a teacher, executive director of an arts organization, president of a convention and visitors bureau, and finally a PR/Marketing and Development professional in the world of healthcare .  By 1997, my ideas had been rejected so many times by so many traditional hospital administrators, who were either my bosses or my peers, that it felt like they would never come to fruition in a conservative field where change is sometimes seen as both life and job-threatening.
butterfly metamorphosis
In 1997, that all changed when Ernst and Young evaluated the hospital where my presidential appointment had just occurred and predicted the closure of that facility due to lack of population, lack of “financial depth” (a.k.a. cash), and a health system partner that successfully was eating our lunch each and every day. It was with that information in hand that I began the metamorphosis of this organization. The presentation to the board and medical staff was relatively simple:

“We can keep doing what we are doing, and then board the place up… or we can grow by changing  the way healthcare is delivered.”

No workplace bullying - Nick Jacobs - healtinghospitals.com Luckily for me, my board chairman at that time was a risk taker because, realistically, our backs were against the wall.  So, we began a journey of change.   We removed bullies from the workplace ( both physicians and employees ); created a homelike environment where you did not have to leave your dignity at the door;  added bread baking machines, popcorn machines in the lobby, decorative fountains, aroma therapy, massage, humor, music, and pet therapies.  We focused on Green, focused on Dignity for employees and patients; focused on providing a peaceful, loving, and Healing Environment; focused on Family Spaces; focused on Architecture; and focused on Quality of Care.  We began classes for our employees in Hospitality in Emotional Intelligence Quotient training and embraced ideas garnered from places like the Ritz Carlton, Disney, and Dale Carnegie.  Then we established an employee evaluation system that embraced these changes and rewarded our staff financially for their work.

Loved ones were encouraged to stay 24/7 as visiting hours were opened to them, double beds were placed in the OB suites, a wellness/prevention/and integrative health facility was built to embrace not only traditional therapies but to an entire gamut of alternatives.  A senior citizen center was condominiumized and made available to the Area Agency on Aging.  We had patients help us design a new Palliative Care Unit , Breast Care Center , and Fitness facility , then finally we added a world class International Research Institute .

That was 1997 through 2008 .  It appears from the posting below that the world is beginning to consider some of these ideas, but lo, these many years later, they are still being referred to as “radical.”  Well, if any of you are interested in how to do what we did which tripled our organizational budget in size and doubled our workforce,  just give me a call at 412-992-6197, to participate in this program.

Obviously, Windber, Pennsylvania was where this movement all started.   Let’s make sure that it doesn’t stop.  After all, it’s not what people like.  It’s what people LOVE.

Henry Ford Health System - Nick Jacobs, FACHE - HealingHospitals.com

DETROIT – Looking to shake up your industry, transform your medical center, and recharge your organization?

A two-day educational symposium, “Going Radical: Creating the Hospital of the Future,” may hold the key to revitalization. It will be held May 25 – 27.

Henry Ford Health System President and CEO Nancy Schlichting will share her radical, but practical strategies for success at the symposium, tapping into the wisdom of her top executives in an interactive session on the profound lessons learned during their tenure.

It was Schlichting’s brainstorm to hire a CEO for Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital from outside the healthcare industry. Her choice was Gerard van Grinsven, a former executive of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, and an expert in service excellence.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield staff will discuss its successes in differentiating itself from the competition by:

• Constructing prototype rooms for planning and community input.

• Incorporating green features in the architecture and construction.

• Building all private patient rooms, including in the emergency department.

• Emphasizing wellness and healthy living.

• Combining traditional clinical care with complementary therapies.

• Creating a unique brand and inspiring staff to think differently.

• Including family space in each patient room, including intensive care.

• Implementing a new kind of food culture in health care.

• Putting a focus on the special concerns of the elderly.

Entrepreneur Bill Taylor, co-author of Mavericks at Work and co-founder of Fast Company magazine, will be the keynote speaker. His ideas have helped shape the global conversation about how business works and “why the most original minds in business win”. His next book, Practically Radical, to be published this fall, explores how to unleash big change in difficult times.

During break-out sessions Henry Ford staff will share lessons learned while juggling the building of the $360-million West Bloomfield hospital and the $300 million renovation of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Tours of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital will include a visit to the Emergency Department, wellness center, and an inpatient room. At Henry Ford Hospital, participants will tour the Center for Simulation, Education and Research – one of the largest facilities of its kind in the Midwest that provides hands-on training with medical mannequins.

Symposium sessions include:

• Creating a Culture of High Performance
• Facility Innovations Through the Eyes of the Patient
• The Best of Both Worlds: Clinical Excellence Meets Integrative Medicine
• Transforming Hospital Food
• Radical Outreach: Relationship Building to Win Over the Community and Recruit Staff
• Thriving in Detroit: A Blueprint for Transforming Your Hospital System and The Physician Perspective

each and every day.  It was with that information in hand that I began the metamorphasis of this organization.  The presentation to the board and medical staff was relatively simple, “We can keep doing what we are doing, and then board the place up, or we can change the way healthcare is delivered and grow.”
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