Any healthcare consultant that focuses on productivity will tell you the mixed reactions received when sharing that you have been engaged to improve performance. Why are we, as an industry, conditioned to fear a word that brings value, accountability, and increased efficiencies to hospitals and health systems?
Historically speaking, productivity was synonymously linked to a reduction in force or layoff. It is no wonder that just the mention of it could send panic across an organization, especially if previous experiences have left staff feeling lost, defeated, and defensive. However, in reality, these two actions could not be further from the same. Productivity focuses on the effectiveness of effort, ensuring that the appropriate resources are in place to produce the desired outcome. Therefore, leaders need to guide staff past their “fears” and communicate the benefits of productivity to gain confidence and buy-in on any future performance improvement initiatives.
Changing this perception is one of the cornerstones behind the ALTIUS approach to productivity, one that blends the human element with the performance data needed to drive effective decision-making processes. Our team takes the time to understand what makes each organization unique, whether it be something as simple as to how often trash is collected to something as broad as its culture. We encourage the leaders to share their stories and design operating improvements that serve to solve the challenges they face. The numbers are only part of the story, and numbers alone cannot make a difference; it is the people that make the impact. After all, how can we expect to influence change if we know nothing about those who are charged with implementing it?
When productivity is based around a partnership, with consultants and healthcare leaders sharing common goals and supporting each other, improvements become more realistic and achievable. The fear dissipates, and the benefits are fully realized.