The Ten Key Attributes of the Ideal Health Care Organization

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In a six-part series we discussed the characteristics of the idea health care organization, eventually compiling a list of 51 traits. Our “ingredients” came from diverse sources: a Harvard Business Review article; an HBR blog post; a newspaper blog post by an HR expert; a consultant’s list of factors  that make employees proud; the Great Place to Work Institute’s list of what gives employees trust in their organization according to Great Place to Work Institute; and an article by a healthcare HR VP of untraditional ways to retain the best employees.

Diversity builds strength!  Still, remembering – much less implementing – fifty-one things is rather a bit much.  So we have 108px-Key_picturefollowed up with some consolidation and contemplation to conform to the conventional decade.   We’ve included a small number of examples and applications to the healthcare environment and hope to expand on these later.

1.  The organization has a mission, vision, ethics, and values that are understood, honored and appreciated by its employees, its customers and the public.

In healthcare, the goal should be the health of patients, employees and the community.  That’s not something that can be measured just by HCAHPS!

In healthcare, the goal should be the health of patients, employees and the community! Click To Tweet

2. Employees are treated and compensated fairly and receive great benefits.

In healthcare, some examples would be reducing the gap between traditionally underpaid workers and CEOs and having gyms and other facilities for employees.

3.  Programs, policies, roles and responsibilities are clearly understood, followed and supported.

In healthcare, that would include such things as ending doctor-nurse conflicts and ensuring that patients know how to get what they need.

4. Diversity of persons, beliefs and outlooks is exhibited, honored and promoted.

In healthcare, this includes such matters as employee cultural competence and lack of discrimination against patients.

5.  Everyone is involved, is engaged, can express their thoughts, and shares in power and decision-making.

In healthcare, this shown by training and forums that bring all types of employees together and by empowering patients concerning their treatment.

6. There is trust, teamwork, and cooperation, with high morale, motivation and enthusiasm.

In healthcare,  there are various practices that promote these ends, such as medical improv.

7.  Positive, visionary and effective leadership is the norm at all levels of the organization.

In healthcare, leadership is not just for executives and doctors; nurses and even other staff such as attendants and patient advocates should display it too.

8.  Good performance is rewarded and recognized, and poor performance is not tolerated.

In healthcare, with its complex structure, strong technical needs, and high degree of stress, this is not a matter of standardized appraisals but rather requires methods such as rounding, peer coaching, and discussion groups.

9.  All standards and operations exhibit high quality, continuous improvement, and continual learning.

In healthcare, the need to be a learning organization is particularly important, and professionalism in all occupations is required.

10.  Objectives are successfully obtained, reputation maintained and justified, and the organizational contribution to those it serves and to its community are manifold and recognized.

In healthcare, resources including staffing, time, and supplies support the high standard of care delivery.  It is fine to excel at, say, heart surgery, but the true test is improving and promoting the health of all; and what goes on outside the hospital may be as significant as what goes on inside it.

So there is our decalogue, distilled from numerous places and honed from various viewpoints.  We invite your comments and improvements!

Jim murphyJim Murphy has a solo consulting practice called Management 3000, focusing on organizational development and change management. Formerly he led the Massachusetts Bay Organizational Development Learning Group, was Human Resources Director for the City of Boston Assessing Department, and served as a consultant with the Boston Management Consortium.  His consulting practice includes management coaching as well as research and writing on employee relationships, leadership, healthcare and collaborative practices.  Having produced newsletters for several organizations  and being a frequent content writer for the”Confident Voices in Healthcare” blog, he is interested in writing and research opportunities, as well as consulting and coaching.



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14 Responses to The Ten Key Attributes of the Ideal Health Care Organization

  1. satinder says:

    I liked it.I experienced the brand of a hospital is based on clinical as well non clinical factors.

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  14. Edward Dolan says:

    Solid outline of key points for any healthcare organization to pay attention to; especially the conclusion:

    “the true test is improving and promoting the health of all; and what goes on outside the hospital may be as significant as what goes on inside it.”

What are your thoughts?