We just wrapped up the 5th Annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in Los Angeles. Based on my conversations with many who attended, it was one of the best conferences ever. Of course I said that back in 2012.
There were lots of highlights. We featured many Healthcare Value Network member organizations in a variety of ways: 20 Network members presented in our “Experiments Around the Network”; our CEO keynote panel featured three Network CEOs (Maura Davies, Kathryn Correia and Laura Easton); once again this year we hosted a CEO track with the majority those in attendance coming from HVN Member organizations; and we had a great networking at the reception with Live Jazz music from John Toussaint and Network member Terrigal Burn from Palo Alto Medical Foundation!
There were lots of “favorite” presentations to choose from, and it is hard to select one that stood out above the others. My primary responsibility at the Summit was to facilitate a series of presentations at a breakout session for CEOs. I call it “the summit within the summit”. These were all great presentations and discussions, but I’m going to feature one in this blog post that really stuck out for me.
Len Barry, PhD, from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University presented on a topic that really grabbed my attention: “Common Success Drivers of Three High Performance Health Systems in Wisconsin”
Of 306 U.S. Hospital referral regions analyzed in the 2012 Commonwealth Fund study on access, quality, costs and health outcomes, the Wisconsin regions of Appleton, La Crosse, Green Bay and Neenah rank overall 5,7,12 and 14, respectively. So, he asked the question “what is going on in Wisconsin?”
Dr. Beery spent several weeks “embedded” in three health care organizations: Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse, Bellin Health in Green Bay and ThedaCare in Appleton.
“Why are three independent health systems in one state doing so well?” he asked. Dr. Berry found that Gundersen, ThedaCare and Bellin Health had several things in common that many hospitals across the U.S. don’t:
- The core of success is stable, value-driven leadership by the management and hospital board. Each hospital has a CEO who has been there a long time. That gives other organization leaders confidence to be bold. The hospital board also works closely with leadership and is not seen as the enemy, as in some other organizations.
- Each has core values like innovation, respect and excellence. “Many (other health care organizations) have the wrong ones,” Berry said.
- Each has common cultures of focusing on accountability, collaboration and being unconventional.
- Institutional self-confidence, which paves the way for unconventional thinking and high aspirations. “These institutions are better at controlling their destiny,” Berry said. “They make the tough decisions today to strengthen the organization tomorrow.”
- A broad view of value. It’s not just a focus on lowering cost, but improving the patient service.
- Teamwork and coordination between doctors and departments. “The language of team work — I heard it wherever I went,” Berry said.
“What drives the success is focus, but that doesn’t mean you’re perfect,” he said.
Each organization needs to work on a few things, like more of a local presence and engaging patients more creatively in being responsible for their own health, he said.
If you want to learn more about Dr. Berry and his work, go to this link to obtain a copy of an article that he co-authored with Dr. John Toussaint, “The Promise Of Lean In Healthcare“