The Secret to Healthcare Survival: Your Employees


consumers are driving change in the healthcare industry. A recent
survey by the Baptist Healthcare Leadership Institute reveals that
patient satisfaction is the number one concern of healthcare
administrators. This is in sharp contrast to a 2000 survey by Modern Healthcare in which 65% of administrators ranked declining Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements as their chief worry.


The shift from a
purely bottom-line focus to a more humanistic focus is leaving many
administrators at a loss for how to proceed. However, savvy hospital
administrators are realizing that patient satisfaction is intimately
related to employee satisfaction. So much so that hospitals that put
employees first by implementing programs designed to increase employee
engagement, empowerment and fulfillment find that their patient
satisfaction scores rise. What many still don’t realize, is that their
employees also hold the key to decreasing costs and improving


So, what is the best way of meeting both your goals of reducing expenses and improving service? Ask your employees. 



Getting Employees Involved


While we hear
repeatedly that “people are an organization’s most important resource,”
few organizations make the best use of the latent potential of their
employees. Innovative ideas can come from anyone in the healthcare
workforce – from nurses to physicians to cleaning staff – the challenge
facing many organizations lies in creating programs that encourage the
sharing and implementation of these ideas.


Many of your
front-line staff have ideas on how your organization can save money and
do things better. The problem is that they either don’t perceive
management as being receptive to their ideas or there is no clear
channel to communicate the ideas. At best the ideas get stuffed into a
suggestion box never to be heard from again.


suggestion systems do little to motivate employees to improve or
suggest change. There is no ownership. There is no satisfaction in
seeing an idea accepted and implemented. There is no room for allowing
employees to feel that they are making a difference and contributing in
meaningful ways to their organization.



Employee Driven Ideas Systems


To truly harness the
creativity of every person in your organization, you must create a
culture that fosters creativity and embraces new ideas. Employees need
a structure they can follow to help them focus their ideas and apply
their knowledge, expertise and experience to identify areas for profit
improvement, process improvement and cost reduction. 


One way to implement
new idea systems is with Good Idea Boards. This process takes the
traditional suggestion system out of the box and puts it where everyone
can see on a series of white boards located prominently in your
organization. Ideas are posted, brainstorming sessions address how best
to implement an idea, and the employee responsible for the idea helps
to pilot it on a trial basis in their department. If the idea is
successful, it gets implemented and shared with other departments.
Transparency and ownership are key to the process. Pride and
recognition come with successful idea implementation, further fueling
the idea generation process amongst peers.



Coaching for Innovation


There are many other
ways to introduce idea generating systems into an organization. Many
hospitals are hiring Innovation Coaches to help tailor programs that
address the unique challenges faced by their organization. Outside
coaches help organizations to create high-performance cultures that
empower employees and foster team behavior.


Using innovative
brainstorming and team building sessions, idea and creativity workshops
like VIE Healthcare’s EXCITE! Program can dramatically increase savings
while empowering employees.  By focusing on
an organization’s needs and teaching employees how their ideas can have
the greatest impact, innovation coaching changes the face of an
organization’s culture.


The process improves
employee communication, motivation, morale, loyalty and work methods.
It also tells employees that management are open to employee ideas and
willing to act on them, increasing trust and leading to feelings of
greater ownership and pride in the organization. Once started, the
process builds on itself by empowering employees to take responsibility
for initiating positive change and reducing costs in an organization.


“Organizations that
don’t consistently keep their finger on the pulse of employee
engagement aren’t maximizing the talent they have in place. It’s about
constantly communicating with your employees – sharing information as
well as asking for their feedback – that can create a synergy within
your department and across the organization,” says Lynn Pierce, RN, of
the Leadership Institute.


To change with the
times, healthcare needs to divest itself of old hierarchical paradigms
and look to the front lines – to the nurses, physicians and support
staff – to drive innovation and change. Your employees have brilliant
ideas. All you have to do is ask for them.


Want to discover how to put VIE Healthcare's powerful
expense reduction strategies to work for your organization? A brief
conversation is all it takes to evaluate how easily VIE Healthcare can improve cost containment throughout your organization.

(888) 484-3332  www.viehealthcare.com  Email: info@viehealthcare.com