Performance Elevates Only With Elevated Standards

If the best defense is a good offense, the best offensive position has always proved to be excellence. Excellent organizations do not want for customers, they don't go bankrupt, and they aren't shoved around by competitors because there are so few that play at their level.

Beware the Standards Dustup

There is a substantial battle currently underway between old minimalist standards agencies like the Joint Commission and newer groups that are pushing for maximum standards. Standards groups represent an industry like any other and each provider of standards is competing for customers. It is no secret that the Joint Commission has lost paying customers and increasingly payors, government, and corporate America are turning to higher standards. Minimalism is out.

Is Your Hospital Best of Breed?

Best hospitals can pass a number of specified outcomes. Check out the GSM Self Audit to see if your organization can pass muster. This can be a significant opportunity to learn and change. Since others are achieving at these levels there is no reason why you can't. All it takes is some doable work.

Best of Breed

From a management perspective, hospitals need to avoid the trap of the minimalists and set their sights on top performance models. The "safe" operating zone is to position the hospital in the range between best in the hospital industry and best anywhere in the world. Recent studies show that improved hospitals have increasingly better performance in subsequent periods, a type of organization momentum compared to their unimproved counterparts. This is illustrated in the following graph.

Who Has Management Standards?

The movement to define management standards is well underway in a number of countries around the world (see Links) and has been a major contributor to the development of foreign economies, presaging a US trend as well. More important for healthcare would be the establishment of management standards in each of the health professions and occupations thus assuring that radiology or pharmacy or nursing were being managed up to standard. The absence of such standards by the professions is appalling and represents a drag on organization performance (see Who Has Standards).

The Bottom Line

What this boils down to is that successful hospital organizations are those who pursue aggressive stretch goals for high customer satisfaction, high quality, low cost (efficiency), all driven by Best People. These goals are attainable, if management can address organization change issues (Change Drivers), develop a truly competent management team (Uncommon Leaders), renew the organization's cultural work environment (Ideation Mining), and implement tactical plans (KRA Management) that radically alter how work processes interact. All of this is a lot of hard work, but all of it is doable—"By the yard its hard; by the inch it's a cinch."

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