How to Engage Health Care Providers in Organizational Change

By Harvard Business Review
February 5, 2019

Here are three ways leaders can align innovations with existing values — and get their employees to follow along.

One of the hardest things about introducing innovation or change in organizations is getting people on board. This is especially true in health care. When staff members view innovations and changes as clashing with patient-care values, they are less likely to adopt new practices.

Health care leaders need to align innovations with existing values and explain how new processes will enable employees to better enact them. Here are three ways managers can do that:

Seek to understand: Listen to doctors and staff to understand why they perceive misalignment between the proposed changes and the organization’s values. This will also allow leadership to reframe and strengthen the connection between innovations and core values. For example, standardized processes are not negating doctors’ expertise, but rather helping ensure consistent quality of care.

RELATED: Hospital Gains Better Patient Flow by Managing Change

Engage employees with data: Data and metrics can create a means to explore problems and a goal post to measure progress. The leader of a large integrated hospital system, for example, used data to drive the staff to wash their hands more frequently and thus reduced health care-associated infections.

RELATED: Leading Change − What Is Being Asked of Physician Leaders?

Pay attention to behaviors you reward and tolerate: As part of the same hand-washing initiative, hospital system administrators created a “Speak Up” program, which empowered and trained nurses, staff and doctors to call out anyone failing to wash their hands. For the campaign to work, no one, regardless of level or status, was immune from a reminder to wash his or her hands. Ingrained cultural norms and power relationships about speaking up needed to be shaken.

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Topics: Management

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