By Bo Moczula, Vizient Consulting Director
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, "There is nothing permanent except change." Our children grow up, move out and start their own lives, our parents get older, we lose loved ones, we accept new jobs, take new roles, gain new managers or teams, we retire, our health and bodies change.
The impact of these events results in emotional reactions that involve the acceptance of loss. The Kübler-Ross model, which involves five stages of grief, is key to understanding the emotional cycle that leads to the acceptance change.
It seems like this model would not be relevant to understanding the impact of organizational change and its acceptance by employees, but change agents recognize that there is a strong correlation between the Kübler-Ross model and behaviors exhibited by employees who are dealing with organizational evolution. From an organizational perspective, the model is called the change curve and has seven stages for dealing with change.
The hospital supply chain and its leadership are in a state of volatile flux, particularly as Vizient Sg2's Impact of Change outlines rising patient acuity and a need for care redesign over the next decade. Providers and their staff must adapt to meet new challenges and adjust to this new normal.
This new state includes back orders, disruptions, price inflation, and severe staff and supply shortages. Supply chain is tasked with doing more with fewer resources. Providers are looking for new ways to partner with other industry stakeholders, such as GPOs and suppliers, to improve their processes, achieve savings and efficiencies, reallocate or find interim resources, implement major changes and incorporate leading best practices.
These events can be overwhelming for healthcare organizations and their employees. It is important to understand that everyone will not react to change the same way. This is due to different personalities, life stages, experiences and the support systems that shape us. Healthcare leaders need to understand that everyone will go through the different phases of processing before accepting these changes, and it's important to check in with your employees along the way.
The Kubler-Ross model can help hospitals and their leadership understand the impact that organizational changes have on employees and the different steps that they need to process and accept these changes. The key understanding is that this is a journey and the process and time to deal and accept these changes may not be the same for all. Leadership needs to understand where each of their team members are in the cycle of change to offer assistance and support.
We live in a world were nothing stays constant, and change happens at all levels. Change for some people is moving into uncharted waters and unfamiliar situations, and it can be overwhelming. But not changing means not evolving, growing, and adapting to new and challenging times. Standing in place means many others will pass you by. The healthcare arena is in flux and to meet the needs of patients, we all need to evolve and explore creative new ways to stay current and innovative.
Learn more about Sg2's Impact of Change Forecast.
About the author
Bo Moczula is a consulting director in Vizient's indirect spend – supply chain services and consulting, and a 30-year supply chain, operations management veteran, having worked in manufacturing, education and healthcare industries. He is particularly experienced in logistics and inventory management solutions, including warehouse management systems, PAR level inventory management in med/surg and clinical departments, Perioperative supply chain, process and operations improvement. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt and is a member of AHRMM.