Understanding a Healthcare Organization’s Patient-Centered Care Potential

Every healthcare organization delivers on the promise of patient-centered care, to one degree or another.  Employees or teams consistently delivering the highest levels of care are motivated in part by a strong sense of personal alignment with their employer.  In essence these high performing caregivers believe there is a strong connection between their values and the values of their employer.  Moreover these high achieving caregivers believe the organization meets their personal standards for delivering health care. The challenge is to expand the patient-centered ethos across a larger share of employees until the organization reaches a tipping point inspiring the majority of employees to deliver care that consistently meets patients’ expectations.

What is the level of internal brand alignment in healthcare organizations?  Internal brand alignment is not the same as employee engagement, that’s only one dimension.  Conventional employee engagement scores measure employees’ overall job satisfaction.  Towers Watson reported that about 44% of US hospital employees were highly engaged.

The other driver of internal brand alignment is the level of employees’ understanding and belief there is something distinctive about their employer that supports and enhances their personal commitment to provide a high level of care for patients.  In essence the employee believes that the employer has an authentic, distinctive brand in delivering healthcare.  Gallup reports that the healthcare industry ranks near the bottom of all industries with only 33% of employees agreeing to the statement “I know what my company [employer] stands for and what makes our brand different from our competitors.”

We compared the estimates of the two components of internal brand alignment cited above with primary research we have conducted with clients in the healthcare industry to determine estimates of internal brand alignment in the healthcare industry.  Our research suggests that the health care industry has a disproportionately higher level of “misaligned” employees (analogous to “disengaged” in terms used to describe the distribution of engaged employees).  The level of those “highly aligned” reflects the generally understood levels of “highly engaged” employees.   A general model of internal brand alignment in the healthcare industry is depicted below.

We have labeled the three different levels of internal brand alignment in the healthcare industry.  The high performing caring individuals and teams that deliver on the promise of patient-centered care and often times despite impediments that may exist within the organization.  This group of high performer caregivers we call the “Caring Leaders.”  Colloquially speaking these caregivers go the extra mile at the right time, for their own reasons. The larger portion of Caring Leaders the faster a healthcare organization can produce the tipping point in expanding its patient-centered care potential.

The largest segment of employees in a healthcare organization we have labeled “Caring Passives.”  The data suggest that these employees have not given up on committing to delivering on an organization’s patient-centered care focus, at the same time they are not aligned with the initiative.  This segment of employees offers the most potential for leveraging the power of internal brand alignment to boost the level of patient-centered care.  This potential is not based solely on the size of the group, but also because of their “willing and waiting” disposition.  These employees have not “signed-out” and just need encouragement and the tools to develop closer alignment and confidence in their employer.  Implementing a change process that encourages, inspires a portion of this group of caregivers to move into the “Caring Leaders” camp is the pivotal strategy to create the tipping point for delivering more broadly on the potential of patient-centered care.

We have coined the term “Caring Detractors” for employees who find no alignment with the organization’s brand.  The best strategy to address this group is expose them and use the growing internal brand alignment, i.e., patient-centered care ethos, to encourage them to leave.  (Applying a healthy dose of patient-centered inspired-performance management can also be a helpful strategy for this segment of employees.)

 

Patient-Inspired Alignment – Creating a Tipping Point in Patient-Centered Care

Patient-Inspired Alignment is a process that uses the proven power of authentic alignment to encourage more employees to engage as Caring Leaders.   The Patient-Inspired Alignment process was developed by customizing the time tested Power of Brand Alignment customer-centric cultural change model.

This strength of the Patient-Inspired Alignment process comes from a foundation built on three pillars.  By far the strongest element to this process is its requirement of authenticity, from the individual and the organization.   The power of authenticity is unleashed through alignment. Those individuals that discover a way to align their authentic qualities with the interests of their employer are consistently successful and high achievers. Our experience is that for this process to yield tangible benefits employees must believe they are authentically aligned with the organization they work for. They must also believe the organization is authentic and aligned with its customers.

To learn more about how the Patient-Inspired Alignment process works and what to expect from it check out our latest article.

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