Aligning Objectives

When you think of the word healthcare, what comes to mind?  I bet that each one of you will come up with an entirely different answer.  Why? Because healthcare as an industry is expansive.  Healthcare has always been a complex inter-weaving of providers, patients, consumers, regulations, and job-related functions from organizational shareholders within a company to employees completing direct task related job responsibilities.

The face of healthcare as we know it today is continuing to evolve as additional regulations are added through government mandated healthcare policies. The scope of work is increasing as regulatory and technical changes are made, all while reimbursement continues to decrease. Progress is often associated with a number of challenges to be met. 

Increased  Scope of Responsibilities

As healthcare advances, the duties required within an organizational job function widens.  Shareholders are tasked with performing a balancing act of driving operational functions and clinical activities while managers tackle facilitating both clinical and operational objectives. Healthcare managers are expected to meet legal and moral obligations to continually strive to improve patient care while safeguarding the quality of care that each patient receives. Why is this a concern?

Direct care gaps may exist within an organization’s structure of communication from senior leaders down to mid-level managers.   Anyone who has worked in this industry for any length of time understands the implications of this issue.   Have you ever had a senior level manager tell you NOT to do a task, only to turn around within the same hour and have a mid-level manager request that you complete that very same task?  Why? 

Because you’re in an industry that deals with humans in every aspect of the word.  Humans are prone to error and can get too involved in assisting with tasks that need to be accomplished. Or perhaps managers are not assertive at setting limits for their staff members or fall short in identified areas of weakness, such as obtaining sufficient staffing for direct care.  Chronic understaffing is a long-standing issue in many healthcare organizations, which can result in senior leaders managing by crisis. 

Expanding Role of Management 

What does being a manager require?  It requires the daily completion of important management functions, such as organizing, planning, directing, staffing, and controlling every day operations. Those functions may include process implementation and sustainability and continuous improvement processes such as document management and change management. In addition, they need to manage personnel, resources, and patient and employee satisfaction.

When one of these functions fails to meet organizational or management expectations, a crisis may result.  Think about this for a moment, if you were a manager functioning in crisis, how would that look?  Would you be withdrawn from your employees, or would you appear unapproachable and offensive in communications with your staff? Over the past several years, there has been increased reporting of bullying type behaviors from bosses within the healthcare industry. A recent article, on research by Willis Towers Watson indicated that the perceived openness and honesty of healthcare communication declined from 2012 to 2013 and leveled off with no improvement by the close of 2015. And as confidence in communication decreases so does trust in management.

Crisis Management

Could this be a result of the increased high demands on senior and mid-management to meet regulatory compliance, patient population demands, technology challenges, and those ever changing demands on required staffing and financial efficiency?  How would you fix this problem?  Would you search for a solution or tools to help?  Instead of managers addressing identified areas of underperformance, they often concentrate on staffing and directing as a key function when managing in crisis.

Managing in this way leads to a reactive approach that is ineffective and directly impacts the organization. Instead, finances and time should be spent on how an organization’s lead management team can focus on being proactive before a crisis occurs. There are technologically savvy tools that exist today that assist managers in most of these areas EXCEPT those focused directly on healthcare managers?   

Have you ever started a new management position with little to no direction on how a task should be performed but were expected to know how to accomplish that task?  Look around at others in the workforce, can you identify with anyone that has struggled with being instructed on what needs to be accomplished, but not on how they should actually achieve the objective and the necessary steps to get there?  Most of us have experienced this at one time or another, and as you likely already know, the struggle is real! 

This can often lead to poor performance on your part, not because you don’t care, but because you aren’t provided with clear instructions on how to perform various activities within your job description.  Now, reverse the roles, if you were the manager, would having those associated job tasks written in step-by-step instructions lead to greater work productivity for you as a manager?  Would employee satisfaction improve within your team or organization? 

What if you could waive a magic wand and have a program that trains new staff on their responsibilities and clearly outlines expectations. Wouldn’t that make leading a team more effective and less stressful?  What if there was a very easy way to promote efficiency, increase productivity, decrease communication issues, and increase overall organizational performance not only within your team but for an entire organization?  

ManageUP has a platform that promotes efficiency and productivity with automated workflows where you can embed the process for task completion, training videos and provides closed-loop communication for organizational transparency. Think about the potential.

When one of these functions fails to meet organizational or management expectations, a crisis may result.  Think about this for a moment, if you were a manager functioning in crisis, how would that look?  Would you be withdrawn from your employees, or would you appear unapproachable and offensive in communications with your staff? Over the past several years, there has been increased reporting of bullying type behaviors from bosses within the healthcare industry. A recent article, on research by Willis Towers Watson indicated that the perceived openness and honesty of healthcare communication declined from 2012 to 2013 and leveled off with no improvement by the close of 2015. And as confidence in communication decreases so does trust in management.

Crisis Management

Could this be a result of the increased high demands on senior and mid-management to meet regulatory compliance, patient population demands, technology challenges, and those ever changing demands on required staffing and financial efficiency?  How would you fix this problem?  Would you search for a solution or tools to help?  Instead of managers addressing identified areas of underperformance, they often concentrate on staffing and directing as a key function when managing in crisis.

Managing in this way leads to a reactive approach that is ineffective and directly impacts the organization. Instead, finances and time should be spent on how an organization’s lead management team can focus on being proactive before a crisis occurs. There are technologically savvy tools that exist today that assist managers in most of these areas EXCEPT those focused directly on healthcare managers?   

Have you ever started a new management position with little to no direction on how a task should be performed but were expected to know how to accomplish that task?  Look around at others in the workforce, can you identify with anyone that has struggled with being instructed on what needs to be accomplished, but not on how they should actually achieve the objective and the necessary steps to get there?  Most of us have experienced this at one time or another, and as you likely already know, the struggle is real! 

This can often lead to poor performance on your part, not because you don’t care, but because you aren’t provided with clear instructions on how to perform various activities within your job description.  Now, reverse the roles, if you were the manager, would having those associated job tasks written in step-by-step instructions lead to greater work productivity for you as a manager?  Would employee satisfaction improve within your team or organization? 

What if you could waive a magic wand and have a program that trains new staff on their responsibilities and clearly outlines expectations. Wouldn’t that make leading a team more effective and less stressful?  What if there was a very easy way to promote efficiency, increase productivity, decrease communication issues, and increase overall organizational performance not only within your team, but for an entire organization?  

ManageUP has a platform that  promotes efficiency and productivity with automated workflows where you can embed the process for task completion, training videos and provides closed-loop communication for organizational transparency. Think about the potential.

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Education and Ongoing Training

References:

Parand, A., Dopson, S., Renz, A., & Vincent, C. (2014). The role of hospital managers in quality and patient safety: A systematic review. BMJ Open, 4(9), doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014- 005055

Patrick Kulesa, Ph.D., Global Director of Employee Survey Research, Willis Towers Watson, June 23, 2016 "Leadership in crisis: Healthcare workers grow more critical of top management post-reform"