​​​​​​​IU Health CEO takes ‘state of the system’ address to staff

Executive looking out window
Get out of the office and meet clinicians for more effective employee engagement. (Getty/Tom Merton)

Dennis Murphy, CEO of Indiana University Health, is taking a new approach to the traditional “state of the system” address: He’s visiting IU Health’s facilities and meeting one-on-one with clinicians and other staff members.

It's a proven strategy: Effective healthcare leaders actively engage with and support staff, as FierceHealthcare has reported. Active listening improves both patient and staff satisfaction. An approach such as leadership rounds gets executives out of the C-suite and into the rest of the hospital.

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Staff members across organizations, not just clinicians, will buy into initiatives if leaders take charge. Ritual questions, such as "What do we do well?" and "what can we do better?," can help leaders focus conversations and hone in on the key takeaways.

Murphy's goal was to make that annual meeting of the minds more interactive, he said in an interview with Hospitals & Health Networks. He said he was able to both learn more about staff members’ concerns and also communicate his vision for the system.

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Murphy said he was surprised to find that most issues that came up were concerns for the healthcare system as a whole, such as the transition to value-based care and the opioid epidemic, and not hyperlocal, facility-specific issues.

Value-based care initiatives are a “key strategic priority” for IU Health, Murphy said, as the system has an accountable care organization, takes on Medicaid risk and has its own health plan. Employees are really on the front lines of payment reform, he said.