I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of amazing and impressive people throughout my 30-year career in healthcare. I’ve learned a great deal from them in how to empower your physicians, clinicians, administrators and many more to become effective at recommending and making improvements themselves and being a positive influence to the overall process. One stood out to me as I recall a conversation, which I think can be a great guide for all of us.
I met Dr. Nicholas V. Simone, who was the OB/GYN Departmental Chair with one of our clients. Dr. Simone was a leader extraordinaire, to say the least. He had helped to establish a national benchmark for C-section rates, among other impressive accomplishments. When we first met I had the chance to talk with Dr. Simone about how he was able to accomplish such impressive achievements in his efforts to make organizational changes and transformation. The excitement his team had and their ability to make improvements which yielded impressive results was astonishing. How was he able to work so closely with physicians and get them of their own volition to improve, be better doctors and consistently deliver improved healthcare while at the same time lower the costs to deliver patient care.
Dr. Simone took the time to walk me through how he achieved these impressive accomplishments. It started with respect for all levels of providers, especially physicians. Several years back he asked IT to create a custom report which included all costs per patient by physician. He then blinded the information and masked each physician’s name to hide their identity. Then he brought them in, one at a time, and reviewed the report with them. He subtly challenged each to improve their position on the list for not only the good of the organization but also for the good of the patient. The physicians responded well… very well, as a matter of fact. He naturally offered hints and helpful points, irrespective of their position on the list be it first or last, on how to bring their numbers in line; in some instances, using analytics to demonstrate these points. The key he indicated was to show them respect, respect for their years of learning and for their years of clinical experience. He was careful NOT to put them against each other. He merely showed them better ways and they responded likewise. I learned a great lesson in that conversation as I had never recognized the power individual respect played as a core principal of population . Thank you Dr. Simone!
David Ferrin is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and has worked with hundreds of healthcare organizations specializing in the identification, evaluation, and implementation of process/systems improvements. He has significant experience with organizations in transition including growth, aggressive reorganization and downsizing. Strengths include in-depth knowledge of operations, facilitation to closure, and analytical expertise that fosters the identification and implementation of attractive improvement opportunities.