If you are the leader of a healthcare service, finding new ways to make a greater difference and serve more patients can be overwhelming. After all, when there are limited resources, funding, and manpower, finding fresh avenues for making patients’ lives easier and improving your staff’s wellbeing is tough.
Of course, with the arrival of the COVID crisis, a spanner of gigantic proportions has been thrown into the works, making your life even harder.
It can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when the here and now is so demanding, but finding a way to raise your head above the parapet and navigating a path to fresher and greener lands is the very definition of being a healthcare leader.
It is the key to making a difference with your healthcare service. You have to create a good example. You have to lead.
Here are the best ways your healthcare service can make a difference right now:
Use the best tools available
There’s no doubt about it, the current healthcare crisis has thrown the board into the air, sending the chess pieces flying in all directions. However, one positive result of this is that it has led to a rise of transformative technologies that are radically altering the way the healthcare industry is constructed.
Instead of being left behind once the dust settles, it is imperative that you fully understand the potential of these innovations and incorporate them into your service as quickly as possible. They have the power to massively increase staff productivity and, in many ways, boost patient wellbeing.
For instance, it is now possible to use software to conduct an annual wellness visit. This has the potential to increase care while opening up whole new revenue-building opportunities for your organization.
It also cuts down the immense effort and resources dedicated to real-time waiting room administration and the drain on healthcare professionals’ time. By harnessing the power of technology, you can make a difference with your organization in ways that were not possible a few years ago.
Keep employee morale high
Your staff members are the bedrock of your organization, the wheels that keep it turning, and the professionals which patients depend upon for their continued health and wellbeing. It is critical, therefore, to maintain staff morale at all costs. While financial incentives are not to be sniffed at, it is far more powerful (and cost-efficient) to retain staff and maintain their morale by simply doing what all effective leaders do – listen.
Maintain fully connected to the ‘shop floor’, and regularly consult with your staff of all levels to stay up to speed with all company departments and ensure your employees are satisfied in their current roles. Naturally, it would help if you allowed them to speak freely and directly. If there’s a hidden grudge, then you need to know about it.
Low morale can spread like wildfire through any organization – especially in an industry as intense as healthcare. This can be extremely destructive to your ability to make a difference. After all, if you can’t make a difference inside your own service by making sure your workforce is content, how on earth can you hope to help the people who matter – your patients?
Remember who you’re trying to help
Talking of which, remember who you’re trying to help. Like any organization, it is all too easy to become wrapped up in bureaucracy, annual revenues, and staff politics, forgetting your customers in the process. Of course, these aren’t just your customers. These are your patients. While it’s like asking you to suck eggs, it’s worth reiterating the fact that these people are in your personal care. Maintaining their wellbeing and offers around the clock service is the very definition of making a difference in healthcare.
Just as you should talk regularly with your staff, you must meet your patients face to face and see that they are sufficiently attended to yourself. After all, your aim should be to lead by example. You will quickly recognize if something is amiss once you’re out of your office and in among the day-to-day routines of your service.
If in doubt, don’t micromanage
While it is crucial that you are up to speed with the ‘shop floor’ work processes of your healthcare professionals, hold regular conversations with members at each level and in each department and interact with your patients, this should not give you a reason to tamper and interfere with these elements directly. While you may want to consider altering daily work practices if there is an issue, this is not an open door to excess micromanagement. The best leaders delegate and trust their workforce enough to let them get on with what they’re best at.
Interfering with daily routines will only pull the handbrake on productivity and even cause dangerous levels of confusion, undoing all your good work. While it is easy to micromanage as a leader – especially when you are desperate to offer the best service possible and make a difference, it never ends well. Instead, ensure you hire people just as skilled – if not more skilled and specialized – than yourself. The positive results will speak for themselves.
Make use of online communication
Another technology that has seen an exponential increase is video conferencing. While there is no substitute for an old-fashioned interview or meeting to establish a meaningful connection with somebody, it can nevertheless radically increase your organization’s efficiency and productivity. You can, for example, hold many more meetings than you would use traditional means. There is no time spent traveling between them, a drastic decrease in people disrupting by walking in late, and the ability to host people from all around the world if necessary.
Online communication can, therefore, serve as a supercharger for the techniques mentioned above. You can quickly and easily communicate with team members at all business levels, whether they are off-site or not. You can also maintain staff morale by introducing regular team meetings without having the logistical nightmare of trying to get everyone together in the same room.