Danger in Healthcare Losing Its Very Essence: Human Connection

Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn, wrote a compelling article in Fortune about how the healthcare industry is slowly losing the very essence of healthcare: human connection.

Like Ms. Bloomgarden, we’re concerned about the decline of human connection in the patient experience. We’re also concerned that a decline of doctor-patient connection is contributing to alarming rates of physician burnout which research has shown is associated with medical errors.

For these reasons, we’ve been working with healthcare organizations for more than a decade to boost human connection by creating Connection Cultures.  Read more about it in articles we’ve written for Becker’s Hospital Review including “Creating a Life-Giving Connection Culture in Healthcare Organizations,” “3 Practices to Protect Your People from Toxic Stress and Burnout,” and this podcast on improving cultures in healthcare organizations that we did while speaking at The University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

When Leaders Live the Vision

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, a part of Northwestern Medicine, is an elite performing healthcare organization in terms of patient satisfaction, employee engagement and financial performance. Marianjoy is composed of a network of 500 inpatient medical acute/sub-acute beds and outpatient rehabilitation services delivering a full range of multispecialty services to adults and children in the greater Chicagoland area. More than 50,000 patients receive care within the Marianjoy service network annually.

Marianjoy is led by Kathleen Yosko, its president and CEO. A life-long learner, Ms. Yosko, in addition to being a nurse by background, has earned M.B.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Ms. Yosko is a source of inspiration to the people she leads. She is an example of a leader who communicates an inspiring vision and lives it, as can be seen throughout her remarkable career.

A Surprising Way to Reduce Mistakes and Accidents

The support found in a Connection Culture reduces the likelihood of future mistakes and accidents

In his excellent TED Talk titled “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?,” physician Brian Goldman describes the first medical mistake he made, how he made mistakes “over and over again,” and how the culture he worked in made him feel “alone, ashamed and unsupported.” The culture Dr. Goldman describes contributes to widespread burnout in medicine today and it makes future medical mistakes more likely.

What Mayo Clinic Discovered About Burnout

Business Lunch to Stop Burnout

Could something as simple as regularly having a meal with colleagues to discuss work experience-related issues help reduce burnout? It seems too simple doesn’t it? Although several factors contribute to burnout, there is good reason to believe connection practices such as taking time to talk with others over lunch or dinner provides a measure of protection. It is certainly having that desired effect at Mayo Clinic.

3 Practices to Protect Your People from Toxic Stress and Burnout

Doctor suffering from burnout

Burnout is on the rise in healthcare. Increased stress and complexity, and the demands to achieve higher productivity are taking a toll. Each year nearly 400 physicians commit suicide, more than double the rate of the general population. Healthcare workers are also susceptible to anxiety, depression and addiction. What can be done?

The healthcare industry is battling high rates of burnout. Each year, nearly 400 physicians commit suicide – more than double the rate of the general population. In this article published by Becker’s Hospital Review, I explain how healthcare organizations can combat this crisis by fostering Connection Cultures.

Date: April 29, 2016
Appearance: 3 Practices to Protect Your People From Toxic Stress and Burnout
Outlet: Becker's Hospital Review
Format: Other

Join me on Tuesday, January 5 for a webinar on creating a life-giving culture in your healthcare organization. Hosted by the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the webinar will address how to improve your organization’s culture through greater connection.

Date: January 5, 2016
Time: 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT
Event: Greater Chicago Chapter HIMSS Webinar
Topic: How to Create a Life-Giving Culture in Your Healthcare Organization
Sponsor: Greater Chicago Chapter of HIMSS
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Alone No Longer: Ten Years Later

Katie Stallard with daughters Elizabeth and Sarah

Katie Stallard with daughters Elizabeth (left) and Sarah (right)

Ten years ago today, my wife’s surgeon told me she had advanced ovarian cancer.  Today Katie is cancer free and flourishing in every way.  The experience of spending more time with my family and friends during that season of supporting Katie while she underwent treatment opened my eyes to the power of connection.  I wrote about it in “Alone No Longer.”

Since the time Katie was diagnosed and treated for advanced ovarian cancer, research published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology by Susan Lutgendorf, et. al., has shown that connection provides a survival advantage to ovarian cancer patients.

Leaders: Use stories to help achieve sustainable superior performance

Franklin D. Roosevelt TIME Man of the Year 1933 Color PhotoDuring World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt traveled to Seattle, Wash., to meet with 18,000 aircraft workers at Boeing Corporation. FDR brought with him a young airplane pilot named Hewitt Wheless from Texas.

The pilot had escaped death, thanks to the resilience of the bullet-riddled B-17 plane he flew out of harm’s way. His plane had been built at that very Boeing plant.

Do you think seeing and hearing that young pilot thank them for saving his life connected them to a common cause? You bet it did.

Although the work required for America to catch up to the output of the Nazi military-industrial complex was daunting, Americans rose to the challenge by persevering through long, hard hours of menial factory work.

FDR’s visits helped transform welders and riveters into freedom fighters. From 1941 until 1945 American aircraft companies out-produced the Nazis three to one and built nearly 300,000 airplanes.

People remember stories. Effective leaders like FDR identify and communicate stories to inspire people. Here are three key points to consider when using stories to enthuse, engage and energize people.