Tuesday, March 12, 2013

UK and US hospital governance, post-Francis edition

Dave West @Davidwwest at the Health Services Journal @HSJNews posts a pictogram showing the result of a survey among chairs of the hospital trust organizations in the National Health Service in the UK.  It was taken after issuance of the Francis Report, a review of the awful things that happened at Staffordshire Hospital.

I am breathless as I scan these results.  Why?  Because I know that if US hospital boards were surveyed on these same questions, the answers would be similar.  See my post below about mergers.  Our boards are so intent on so-called strategic moves that they fail to demand accountability and practice transparency with regard to clinical outcomes and other operational issues.

This is a moral failure of leadership.  Paul Wiles, former CEO of Novant, once said, with regard to quality and safety issues:

If you cannot see the face of your own relative in a patient, or if you can not see the face of your own son or daughter in the face of a distraught nurse or doctor who has made an error, I suggest that your executive talents would be better placed in other industries.

He said it with regard to CEO leaders, but it applies equally to hospital board members.


Beverly H Rogers said...

From Facebook:

I have been thinking about this issue. In any other industry which produced such a poor product and, indeed, often killed its customers!, the non-performers would go out of business. Hospital boards, often largely composed of businesspeople, are doing their duty as they see it - ensuring the financial survival of the business by playing the rules of the game applying to their industry. Since there are no competitive consequences for a poor product, this is not their focus, morals or not. Education is similar. So, we either need completely different leaders or we need to drastically change the rules of survival.

David Joyce MD said...

Your quote is a great example of the aims of hospital leadership. Yet, as usual, words are simply not enough. How is this mission instilled in every employee, every day. Of course we all know we should feel like that, we all know a lot of things that are good. How can we be inspired every day to live the mission and create engagement among our employees and patients. The Ritz Carlton has it figured out and the result is the most engaged work force anywhere. See how they do it, and let's use the technique that they know works!


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