Healthcare leaders and hospital CEOs have a personal and profession responsibility to lead by example when it comes to preventing and managing chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, author Kim Ryan, CEO of Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, Georgia, writes in Hospitals & Health Networks.
After taking steps to improve her own personal health, Ryan implemented hospital-wide changes to make a difference among her employees and within the community, where population health management is a major focus area.
Here are three ways she says healthcare leaders can lead by example to encourage better health:
Promote personal health. Ryan and the hospital partnered with the Gwinnett County park system to start the Live Healthy Gwinnet initiative, which combines education, behavior change and clinical expertise from the Eastside Medical Center. The program encourages citizens to be active, eat healthy, get health check ups and sport a positive attitude through the combination of physical activity, education and counseling from physicians and staff, Ryan writes.
Organize various community activities. Eastside Medical Center also created the Walk the Talk program, which grouped citizens with healthcare professions who walked the trails of the parks together while discussing healthcare concerns and ways to get active. Through these types of initiatives, hospitals can align and promote wellness ideas and topics while directly interacting and being physically active with community members.
Partner for success. Find other companies and organizations that will join the fight against chronic disease and share the same vision and values for the community, Ryan writes. These partners can help promote healthful living principles, participate in regular activities, develop effective community partnerships and bring together different cultures and generations.
"I feel a personal sense of responsibility as the leader of this institution, but our institution has a responsibility to make our community well," Ryan writes. "This initiative starts with me and will end with a healthier, active community."
Leading by example also means having healthier employees interacting with the community, Gallup Business Journal reports. Healthcare organizations can do this by defining any major health, social and educational problems within their organizations. Next, they must accurately measure and assess the health elements that are most predictive of positive health outcomes.
Finally, organizations must create a healthy identity and align the hospital culture accordingly. Leverage the power of human behavior and maximize employee strengths to drive change, the article states.