Category: News

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Are your departmental goals specific enough to change behavior?

Developed over 30 years ago, the widely-used S.M.A.R.T. goals model has helped thousands of organizations write more effective goals. But what about implementation? Our smarter S.M.A.R.T. goals approach focuses on how to use goals to change behavior and drive higher performance in healthcare organizations. For more information on how to use goal-setting to improve outcomes and advance employee engagement, download our latest whitepaper: Stamp&Chase LeaderBriefing – A Smarter Approach to SMART Goals.

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The Power of Empowerment: “The Village has it Handled!”

In a leadership workshop earlier this month at Summa Health in Akron, OH, a manager shared one of the most definitive, straightforward affirmations of true staff empowerment that I’ve ever heard.  She explained that often when an issue or problem arises, by the time she becomes aware of it and approaches her team to work through a solution, she is confidently told, “Don’t worry; the village has it handled.”Empowerment is a frequently vaunted goal for high-functioning teams in today’s leadership literature. But while the term is commonly accepted, I’m not sure it best describes the true power of empowerment. When I clicked on the thesaurus feature in Microsoft Word while writing this post, I actually found a much better list of options: inspire, embolden, encourage,

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Sometimes Silence Isn’t Golden: Improving Patient Engagement by Encouraging Openness

Like most of our experiences in life, the patients and families we remember best are the ones whose satisfaction with our care falls at the extremes.  On one hand, the family that is effusive in their praise is one everyone likes to remember.  At the other extreme, we can’t forget the families who are disappointed and seem to be critical of virtually everything we do.  Even months after they’ve left the hospital, the experience of dealing with them is indelibly burned in our memory. While the families at the extremes of the satisfaction scale may be most memorable, the majority of the patients we care for likely fall somewhere in the middle.  These are the families that come and go rather quietly, neither sharing significant

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man with a clipboard graphic at stamp & chase

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Wreck Rounding

Over the past decade, health care leadership rounding has become a best-practice staple for organizations that are striving to improve patient experience, employee engagement and the overall culture of performance. While in healthcare we sometimes act like we invented the practice, it has been pursued in different forms for many years in other industries. If you are a disciple of Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System, you call it “going to the gemba.” Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard coined the term “management by walking around” in the 1960s when their rapidly-expanding technology company was growing beyond their capacity and ability to be involved in every detail of the business. In health care, our name for the practice of going to where the most important

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Healthcare Leadership Development Program

Workplace Etiquette | 3 Tips for Dealing with Politics (or Other Touchy Subjects)

Regardless of how you lean, leave politics at home. Sometimes, inspiration for my weekly blog post comes from unexpected places – like a quiet, late-evening dinner on the road. After a successful day with a client recently, I arrived back at my hotel for a later-than-usual dinner. There were only a few people left in the restaurant, and I was seated near a table of three gentlemen. While I wasn’t interested in eavesdropping, it was impossible to not hear their conversation in the quiet room. From their discussion it was clear that they all worked for the same company and were traveling together on business. Two middle-aged men were obviously more senior managers, and they were accompanied by a junior colleague who appeared to be

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Healthcare Employee Engagement

Everyone Can Be a Caregiver (Even a CEO!)

Several years ago I was leading a management workshop at a very large health system. With over 200 people in the room, there was spirited discussion about the opportunities and obstacles to improving the patient experience in the system’s hospitals. I noticed one of the leaders patiently holding her hand up near the back of the room and made my way back to give her the microphone. She hesitantly started, “I’m the director of Environmental Services, and I know we don’t have a direct impact on patients’ care, but ….” While I hated to interrupt her, I just couldn’t let her opening statement stand without a polite challenge. “I’m really sorry, but I have to interrupt,” I respectfully said. “I have a list of stories

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In patient experience work, there’s no “Silver Bullet.” But are you trying to keep too many plates spinning?

In a recent blog post, I argued that the problem of searching for a single, easy-to-implement patient engagement tactic goes beyond the fact that one doesn’t exist. Believing that a simple silver bullet strategy is out there actually stymies continuous improvement, innovation and effective implementation. So if there is no single silver bullet, one might reasonably jump to the conclusion that a shotgun approach – implementing multiple solutions simultaneously – would produce better results. But that strategy has real flaws, as well. When I was working closely with the Experience Team at Ascension Health several years ago, we termed it “initiative fatigue.” In other words, teams were trying to launch and sustain so many different initiatives to improve care that they lost focus. It felt like

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Competing Shortages: Is One Fix Contributing to a Bigger Problem for Nursing?

For more than 20 years, the looming caregiver shortages in primary care medicine and nursing have been well documented. In its study on workforce supply and demand projections released in November, 2016, the National Center for Healthcare Workforce Analysis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated: “Under current workforce utilization and care delivery patterns, the 2025 demand for primary care physicians is projected to exceed supply at the national level.” (See Chart.) Following this ominous yet not unexpected finding, the study goes on to point out: “With delivery system changes and full utilization of NP and PA services, the projected shortage of 23,640 FTEs can be effectively mitigated.” In fact, the study goes on to reveal that if current trends continue, the

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inside doctors office graphic from stamp and chase

One simple question can reveal the underlying culture in a physician’s office

For the sixth time, I recently facilitated the annual Executive Dialogue of the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development of the American Hospital Association. The unique format of the conference features presentations by three nationally-renowned speakers followed by facilitated dialogue with the audience of senior healthcare strategy executives. Speaking to the program theme of “leading change,” Peter Fine, president & CEO of Phoenix-based Banner Health, talked not only about the organization-wide, big-picture, strategic opportunities for leading change, but also the very personal, day-to-day occasions health leaders have to change the way our patients experience care. He focused many of his remarks on the front-end of the care experience in physicians’ offices and other ambulatory settings, suggesting one straightforward question can provide the greatest insight

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What we can learn from Coach K about patient experience accountability

I never thought I’d be writing a blog post under this headline. With a wife who is a die-hard Kansas Jayhawk and a son who is a loyal Indiana Hoosier, admitting that I could learn anything from Duke Blue Devils Coach Mike Krzyzewski is unthinkable in my house. Applying a lesson from college basketball to patient experience strategy seems even more improbable. But in December when Coach K suspended guard Grayson Allen indefinitely after he tripped an opposing player, his decision made me think about how well we as leaders in healthcare organizations hold every member of our team accountable for the impact their behaviors have on patients’ experiences. First, a bit of background. If you are not a college basketball fan, the central incident

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