3 strategies to promote hospital culture of ownership

To become successful and stand out in a competitive healthcare industry, hospitals must encourage a culture of personal accountability and complete ownership, from the bosses in the C-suite to the front-line workers administering medication, Joe Tye, CEO of Values Coach Inc., writes in Hospitals & Health Networks.

"Corporate culture is really the aggregate of attitudes and behaviors of the people working within the organization; culture doesn't change unless and until people change," Tye writes. Start with having employees take a self-empowerment pledge where workers promise: Responsibility, accountability, determination, contribution, resilience, perspective and faith. The more personally accountable everyone is, the less hospital leadership need to enforce hierarchical accountability and punishment, according to Tye.

He lists a number of strategies organizations can use to foster a culture of ownership through personal and cultural accountability. Here are three of them: 

  1. Define your ideal culture: Describe the organization's culture in six words, which clearly shows the essence of the hospital. This will help recruit people who fit in with the culture. For example, Southwest Airlines' six words are "Servant's Heart, Warrior Spirit, Fun-Loving Attitude."

  2. Make better use of new-employee orientation: Start good cultural habits from the beginning when it comes to personal accountability, Tye writes. Teach employees how to address situations like gossiping head on to promote ownership of the situation.

  3. Use visual reminders: Much like the "No Smoking" signs that now mark many hospital walls, place reminders around the facility to make employees think about their actions. Tye references a surgery department manager who posted a sign outside every operating room that read, "Your patient could be awake" to keep behavior in check.

Hartford HealthCare restructured its middle management system and used workgroups rather than departments to create clear and specific goals with a strong customer focus, to help foster a culture of ownership, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Each work group meets monthly and is led by an assigned leader, who attends a 10-class training session. Each monthly meeting begins with recognition and includes data-driven dashboard measurement systems to gauge progress.

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