Huddle Up: Engage Staff for Meaningful Improvement

Walk through any clinical (or even non-clinical) unit in a hospital and you’ll likely see a visual example of how that department highlights and tracks its progress. A popular continuous improvement tool, huddle boards help teams collaborate on the most important tasks and actions in order to provide the highest level of patient care. New Hanover Regional Medical Center is no different. More

Expanding Into Non-Acute Care: 4 Steps to Follow

Health care today looks much different than in the past and leaders at traditional hospitals are finding it necessary to expand their services outside the hospital, particularly into the post-acute and ambulatory care sectors. Expanding services to include other types of care facilities means expanding your supply chain and with that comes complexities, risks and opportunities. More

Tough Consumer Choices: A Trillion Reasons to Worry

It was reported in March that U.S. consumer credit card debt exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. Just how big is one trillion? A trillion is one million million. It would take 31,709 years to count to one trillion if you didn’t stop to eat or sleep. Imagine your dad back in 1968, piling the family into the station wagon for a road trip to the Grand Canyon. As you pulled out of the driveway, he cheerfully suggested that you count to a trillion as a way to pass the time. Had you stuck... More

In Health Care Performance Improvement, It’s Really About Knowing Where We Are Going

My favorite philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else.” It’s an easy argument to show that we continually end up somewhere else in our current health care performance improvement efforts, and most times that somewhere else is the land of no change. No matter the laudable efforts of many people, we seemed to get derailed in our improvement efforts by everything from unengaged clinicians to a lack of... More

4 Ways to Capture Savings through Purchased Services

In the age of near-constant mergers and acquisitions, health systems are taking on tremendous costs in the form of third-party—or purchased—services. When a hospital or health system acquires additional facilities or a private practice, it inherits all of that entity’s contracted purchased services, including IT and telecom, clinical services, security, maintenance and more. More

U.S. Health Care and Halley’s Comet: Reflections and a Look Ahead

Something in the newspaper caught my eye recently, which triggered a sequence of free-association thinking that ultimately led to a mixture of concern and hope for the future of health care. It was an almanac reference to the last close encounter with Halley’s Comet in 1986. Named for an English astronomer who was born in 1656, the 6-mile-wide chunk of rock and ice hurtling through space at 158,000 miles per hour intersects Earth’s orbit every 75 years. Contemplating the fact that... More

Bursting Bubbles: Housing, Health Care and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Each year at the end of summer, just before the new school year starts, I make my way to South Bend, Indiana to play a round of golf with two old friends who are professors at the University of Notre Dame. One of the two, recently retired, is a renowned Dead Sea Scrolls scholar. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in limestone caves in the Judean Desert in 1946, are the remnants of biblical manuscripts written 2,000 years ago. My golf partner devoted an academic career to studying them while... More

Ebola: What We Learned from 2014

In August 2014, fear struck the globe, when the Ebola epidemic breached the continent of Africa’s borders and reached the United States. While proving to be a formidable opponent, the Ebola crisis was ultimately contained, but not before infecting two unsuspecting health care workers in Texas and claiming the lives of two others; both of whom contracted the virus outside of the U.S. More

Line Dancing and Labor Productivity: Steps Toward Affordable Health Care

There are nostalgic movies that you always pause your channel-surfing to watch, no matter how many times you have seen them. For me, The Blues Brothers is one. More

Buggy Whips, Steam Engines and Health Care: The Challenge of Staying Relevant

In 1960, the Harvard Business Review published a landmark article by Theodore Levitt entitled, “Marketing Myopia,” in which Dr. Levitt posed a defining question to American executives: What business are you really in? The article cited the failure by the railroads to recognize themselves as being in the transportation business, thereby enabling competitors from outside of the railroad industry to meet consumer needs with automobiles and airplanes. More