The healthcare environment faces evolving challenges, which in turn means that the skills required for leadership are constantly changing as well. Whether it’s responding to new or modified regulations, bottom-line profitability pressures, new diagnostic or treatment techniques or integrating technological trends into system processes, what makes a person an effective leader of healthcare systems is the ability to balance all of these pressures alongside the needs of patients.
Communication plays an integral base for formulating great leadership strategies. Depending on how many people you have on your team and their specific responsibilities, you may have a maze of
connections that you need to handle. Finding out ways to make sure everyone stays on the same page aligned with the organisation’s mission and vision is the key. Effective communication also requires that you have a good command over technology. By learning how to use tools that compile and share data, you can contribute to efficiency and efficacy.
Listening is a part of communication, but it deserves its own mention because it is so vital to advancing your team. An “open door” policy can help create an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable speaking up. Making room in your routine for self-education. This would involve reading the latest professional journals or talking to people who are more experienced than you are in your field.
As a leader, you are bound to face curveballs. Have a flexible mind-set and being willing to adapt to new situations, flexibility is particularly important during crisis situations. One shouldn’t be afraid to set ambitious goals. The enthusiasm for excellence will be contagious, and you may be surprised by how much your team can accomplish. A leader’s success always lies in managing a successful, empowered and performance oriented team. Good governance at organisational level not just helps in providing necessary responsibilities and practices to ensure benefits realisation, optimise resources and optimise risks while ensuring an organisation is compliant with local laws and regulations and providing value to stakeholders but also facilitates a high level of trust by patients and consumers of healthcare services which is the most significant considering the healthcare sector requires a higher level of documented control and accountability than is required by any other industry. A good governance model always augments the performance of a good leader.
Effective information and technology governance may seem dauntingly complex, given the regulatory context of the healthcare industry and competing stakeholder goals. Most governance requirements, thus, must originate with logical and straightforward principles.
A post on health care thought leader BE Smith’s website says, “Effective leaders have a clear vision of what success will look like in a specific time period. They know how to plan for it, how to communicate and direct it, and how to implement it. They dream big and look forward to overcoming the challenges their vision will face.”
Analysing your goals and breaking them down into smaller, measurable goals that can help you and your team stay on track. When one approach or method for reaching goals doesn’t work, one must be prepared to make adjustments.
Whether an organisation has recognised room for improvement in its executive governance approach or the need for a more comprehensive overhaul, a few guiding principles for the foundation to transform healthcare at any organisation would include:
Engaging the right stakeholders
Making the call to action: This establishes the point on the horizon to become the destination for all team members. Often, this communication is prompted by some sentinel event, sparking a desire for
excellence, a patient harmed, a legal action, a missed benchmark etc. This call to action, or statement of vision, should be established in writing and communicated via one-on-one meetings, leadership huddles, mass communication, and posted announcements. This communication should flow upwards and downwards through the organisation, from the meeting room to the cubicle.
Forming the leadership team: Recruiting the right mix of people (multidisciplinary representation) to serve on the leadership team. Effective executive governance depends on a balance of executive roles.
Establishing shared understanding of objectives
Identifying high level opportunities: This shall prioritise those in a data-driven environment, to a strategic way to target areas for early and meaningful change where the highest value proposition exists. This way, the work is deep and effective in a few areas of greatest opportunity, rather than ineffectively in too many Assessing organisational capabilities and readiness: Determining capabilities and readiness early so that the work isn’t stalled once in progress. Perform a self-
assessment or structured interviews with a third-party improvement expert to carefully examine these areas: processes, methodologies, infrastructure, skills, and cultural factors. This audit will identify potential weaknesses and help ensure that the organisation is prepared for improvement work and able to manage risk.
Aligning incentives and rules of engagement
Adopting a consistent improvement methodology: This methodology will include responsibilities from reconciling conflicts of interest among stakeholders to making sure everyone is aligned with and supportive of the organisation’s top priorities the framework by which leaders organise teams, assign accountability, and empower individuals in improvement work.
Aligning incentives: Effective executive governance aligns everyone within the organisation around the same vision, goals, and accountabilities. An established compensation or incentive structure shall encourages clinicians, data experts, and business leaders to participate in improvement while keeping balance with their other responsibilities. In the case of clinicians, this means making it possible, and appealing, for clinicians to participate in improvement work while not compromising patient care.
Keeping polarities in balance: Polarity refers to a pair of values that we tend to see in adversarial terms—this VERSUS that—but are, in fact, interdependent and mutually valuable. Keep polarities in
the organisation balanced by identifying the ones that could impede improvement and then developing a plan to foster their coexistence.
Practicing disciplined prioritisation
Analysing opportunities and determining priorities – This is time to operationalise the vision by prioritising desired, measurable outcomes within those strategic areas. This will require some deeper analysis to identify specific areas of opportunity. This becomes a fantastic leverage point for
engaging front-line stakeholders in shaping and understanding the shared objective.
Allocation of resources: The owners of resources (those who make allocation decisions) throughout the institution need a consistent rubric for making resource allocation decisions. Identify the key resources the health system needs for work improvement, particularly those high-value assets for which supply doesn’t meet demand.
Establishing prioritised teams: Improvement teams comprise the innovators and early adopters who drive improvement and inspire others to follow. These team members play critical roles in permeating the vision and protecting priorities. They build strength and create a snowball effect for the organisation’s strategic and operational vision
Extending and sustaining improvement: To ensure that improvement work becomes and stays an integral part of the health system, there is a need to put practices and processes in place to operationalise and grow ongoing improvement work. This can be done by establishing standardised ways of reporting among improvement teams, setting times and methods for communicating to the whole organisation, and planning regular re-assessment to monitor ongoing value and accountabilities. And, importantly, they’ll create opportunities to share success, such as having team’s present positive outcomes and methods to the guidance team, Leadership, and executives.
Healthcare systems are composed of numerous professional groups, departments, and specialties with intricate, nonlinear interactions between them, the complexity of such systems is often unparalleled as a result of constraints relating to different disease areas, multidirectional goals, and multidisciplinary staff. Within large organisations such as healthcare systems, the numerous groups with associated subcultures might support or be in conflict with each other. Thus, leadership needs to capitalise on the diversity within the organisation as a whole and efficiently utilise resources when designing management processes, while encouraging personnel to work towards common goals.
Leaders at many times are change agents brought in to lead change management. This is probably the hardest role for the leaders in healthcare owing to culture of extensive resistance to change which at times reflects in the nature the healthcare is imparted. Ironically, healthcare is rapidly changing owing to new technologies and modalities of treatment, however still healthcare culture is most resilient to change. The role of a leader in such instance is to lead the change in mind-sets and cultures by taking the stakeholders along with perseverance, patience yet a focussed direction. A real leader adjust the sails of the ship to bring the change in direction rather than just expecting a change or complaining about the odd direction of wind. Leaders have to be close enough to understand, together enough to support , distant enough to motivate and ahead enough to steer the direction to walk the path towards the vision.