Archive for Leadership

Reform is Technology Dependent

Information technology is scattered widely throughout the health reform bill that was passed in the US. In order to accomplish many of the goals stated in the bill, information technology will be increasingly investigated as one component that might offer a degree of savings or capability to the system. Whether we are talking about checking for a patient’s insurance eligibility, medical homes or improving patient access to information, technology is at the heart of the solution. And it isn’t really just technology that will be responsible for this change: what we’re really talking about is information management, using technology as a modernized means of collecting, storing and moving information throughout the system. » Continue reading “Reform is Technology Dependent”

Leave a Comment

In the Clouds

One of the underlying assumptions in this blog, The Art of Medicine and Technology, is that we will continue to gather more data, hopefully learn from it, and use it to provide continually improved care. Most of this data will be gathered using electronic medical record systems and other information technology systems that are increasingly finding their way into physician practices and hospitals. In our day-to-day lives, we use all kinds of tools that store messages, documents, websites and photos on servers outside of our physical control. We’re growing increasingly dependent on services in the “cloud” of connectivity to store, maintain and move our information. In the field of medicine, the growth of EHRs, and their eventual connectivity as part of the Nationwide Healthcare Information Network (NHIN) will add new dimensions to this concept. What they are talking about moving around however, is data about patient care, quality reporting and payment for services. What about the “knowledge” we will gain from research done on data? » Continue reading “In the Clouds”

Leave a Comment

Building a Great Team V

So far we’ve discussed four of the elements I like to look for when building a team that will be required to drive massive changes in the way things are done. Transforming a healthcare practice or hospital from paper-based information to a paperless environment certainly qualifies as a massive change. Previously, I’ve outlined curiosity, creativity, confidence and compassion. The fifth thing I look for is competence.

Competence
I assume that by the time we’re talking to people about working together, that is, we’ve gone beyond the resume stage and are into the interviews, potential hires must have demonstrated some degree of professional or technical competence in order to get this far. I consider competence then, in the context of whether or not somebody has, in aggregate, the qualities previously mentioned, and whether or not that “package” is suitable not only for the long-term mission of the organization, but for the more immediate task of transformation.

Without these five components, you increase the risk to both the organization and the individual. When building a team that will see you through a complete organizational change, neither the organization nor the individual (if you do this right) will resemble the original at the end of the project. We’re not looking to fit someone into the current process, because that process is due to change. We’re looking for people who can, as previously noted, thrive within ambiguous territory. This is especially true for executive leadership. People get used to having information and answers to questions, and that’s one way we demonstrate our historical competence. When everything changes, immediate and solid answers may only come after time and with more experience.

These qualities of individuals scale up to the organization as well. If your organization is prepared for systemic change, curiosity, creativity, confidence and compassion will enable an environment where fluidity of change increases the overall competence of the organization. This in turn, contributes to the ability to visibly participate in a leadership role in the community of those who not only provide healthcare, but who actively push forward, defining the future of healthcare delivery.

Your thoughts and comments are welcomed!

-Rod Piechowski

Copyright © 2010, Rod Piechowski, Inc., Consulting

Leave a Comment

Building a Great Team IV

Compassion
It’s hard to imagine that anyone could work in the healthcare field without having some degree of compassion for others. Yet, the reality of business, and continued pressure to do more with less for less, could no doubt squeeze the last bit of feeling from almost anyone. For our purposes though, I want to look at compassion as a component that complements the rest of the five traits I look for when building a team that must lead through systemic change. This trait:

  • Reduces the prevalence of “me first” in the workplace because people more clearly see the positions of others, and can more easily integrate other points of view into the re-engineering project;
  • Is likely to be found in people who consider the patient as the ultimate beneficiary of positive change through technical innovation, and they are less likely to toss aside “the patient comes first” as a tired slogan;
  • Should be a thread that runs throughout the fabric of an organization’s culture. Remember, it is culture that must really change in order to successfully convert from paper-based to paperless information exchange. Technology is just the tool;
  • Is especially desirable on a team when the status quo is broken, methods are in flux, and there is ambiguity in roles;
  • Builds trust;

Next, I will tie all of these traits together and discuss competence.

-Rod Piechowski

Copyright © 2010, Rod Piechowski, Inc., Consulting

Leave a Comment