Chairman's Post: Insights on the Community Poll

We recently introduced you to our MX Community Poll, a new monthly feature in the Brief. The MX Community Poll is a quick poll, with questions that our Brief readers want to know the answer to. Our readership is comprised of thousands of hospital executives and industry leaders who are changing the landscape of healthcare.

One of our Brief readers, a COO at a U.S. hospital, wanted to know:

What's your hospital's biggest barrier to continuous improvement?

A. 27 % Fostering Collaboration between Stakeholders
B. 25% Prioritizing which Process or Program to Improve
C. 24% Lack of Process Management Tools
D. 24% Employee Engagement

The monthly survey confirmed what we have been hearing from health system executives, the healthcare business is changing very fast and there are too many priorities. There was no clear winner – an almost even split among the four barriers that hospitals execs face in fostering continuous improvement.

Notice though, we can group them in other ways. When you combine A & D (51% of responses), we notice a clear recognition that healthcare executives must foster teamwork and align their organizations along a specific path to be successful. Silos need to be eradicated; physician-hospital competition should yield to clinical integration efforts. Most importantly, it seems that the executives are extremely challenged on getting employees and stakeholders engaged and focused on the same goals.

Next it seems, executive need - but are challenged by - prioritizing the endless programs, processes, and initiatives (B) and develop and hardwire a performance improvement mechanism, like Six Sigma, workout, or Lean (C) to make changes and have them stick.

What struck me most in the results were the challenges of prioritization and lack of tools. These are the starting points since you cannot foster collaboration or get engagement without a focus and a process.