Becoming a leader in healthcare, and supporting a healthcare facility or practice so that it attains to excellence, doesn’t happen by accident. In the modern healthcare system, many system leaders and hospital administrators are flailing if not downright failing. It takes truly effective and agile healthcare leadership if you or your employer are going to ascend the ranks. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
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Just because something has always been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean that is the most effective way to carry out a task. Even if it once was, the healthcare system has evolved and changed. It may not be the best option today. One of the most important roles of an effective healthcare executive is the ability to ask those difficult questions of all parties involved and avoid making assumptions. Asking questions can also encourage team members to participate and share ideas.
One of the most effective ways to change working assumptions and measure performance is to measure and track everything. Many healthcare systems already amass huge quantities of data. Use that information to analyze performance and measure outcomes. You may find that what you thought of as a problem is merely a symptom of a bigger issue and that improvements have to start in another area. Measuring performance also makes it possible to identify people with high performance so they can be recognized; similarly, you’ll be able to spot people who may be struggling so they can receive more training.
Healthcare executives can improve their effectiveness by being specific. Just like performance can only be tracked when specific data comes to light, performance in employees and departments can only improve when management is specific about the goals, objectives, and standards. Specific elements like how many minutes it takes to see a patient or making sure that each intake file has three documents in it before the patient can be seen are precise, measurable actions. This makes tracking performance easier, but staff can also rest easier knowing that they completed specific goals instead of attempting to fill a blanket statement like, “It shouldn’t take that long to see a patient,” or “Make sure the file is complete.”
Manage and Lead
In order to be more effective, healthcare managers should always lead by example. Let your behavior be what you would expect of others. Similarly, always remember the role of leadership is to rally team members. This means providing direction and motivating participation as well as offering guidance, listening to team members, and nurturing the development of each person under your leadership. Maintain open communication lines and use your team by sharing tasks and delegating work.
The healthcare environment itself has grown increasingly complex, and that fact presents a challenge for healthcare leaders. Many organizations are expecting more to be done with less, and keeping up is a struggle. More effective healthcare leadership can help any facility thrive even during challenging times.
For more information please visit USC’s Executive Master of Health Administration Online program.