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The Five Elements of Optimal Care Delivery: Organizational Readiness

Understanding organizational readiness for care transformation is one of the five strategic elements to achieving optimal care delivery. Let’s zoom in on this key element, which is the foundational to a health system’s roadmap to success.

Competitive positioning begins with understanding where you are to determine where you need to go.

The first step on the path to optimal care delivery is making sure your organization is prepared to take the leap and in a position that maximizes chances for sustained success. Organizational readiness can be broken down into two phases: assessment and roadmap design.

  1. Assessment: First, a comprehensive organizational assessment needs to be conducted to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement in cross-continuum care delivery. It should also characterize evidence-supported practice recommendations for areas with the greatest opportunity and impact for improvement. Understanding what’s actually happening on the ground requires onsite visits to various care settings to conduct interviews and observe care delivery processes. The key is to home in on broad practices, processes and behaviors that may promulgate or mitigate length-of-stay, variation, bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and behaviors that negatively impact patient and family experience.
  2. Roadmap design: Insights compiled during the assessment should inform a roadmap that appropriately phases in each approach to have adequate impact on the steps to come. The roadmap should include details across the continuum of care – from pre-acute to post-acute care — to ensure a seamless approach forward. It’s important to touch all facets of operations that are needed to build a high-reliability organization, including finance, organizational structure, and – most notably – culture.

The ultimate deliverable is a comprehensive and honest report out on assets to leverage, gaps to address, and operational changes or capabilities that are needed (e.g., governance, data and analytics) to improve performance.

The Key Enabler: Culture Change

Amid the significant effort to adopt new practices, implement new guidelines, and invest in technology and tools, a health system must tackle an often more complicated and elusive challenge: culture change. Effective care delivery optimization requires health system leaders, clinicians and other frontline staff to embrace a whole new perspective on delivering high-value care. This new perspective centers around transparency, shared accountability, and collaboration – principles that often fall to the wayside in the traditional fee-for-service model.

Facilitating and fostering this type of positive change is often one of the biggest – and most persistent – challenges health systems face. Here are some general strategies to start you on the right foot:

  1. Engage leadership. The C-suite and other leaders must be committed with roles and responsibilities clearly assigned. Shifting organizational culture starts with ownership and accountability at the top.
  2. Establish a clear vision. Clarify the what, why, and how, and shout it from the rooftops. What are the goals? How are you going to achieve them? And why does it matter? A key component is soliciting appropriate buy-in and input from administrative and clinical leaders, physicians, and other staff.
  3. Communicate and educate. Educate clinical and non-clinical staff on what you’re doing, and empower staff to lead and contribute. Everyone needs to be in the loop. Host trainings and collaborative forums to educate staff on your vision, strategy, expectations, and individual roles and responsibilities in achieving change.
  4. Enhance transparency and inform with data. Harness the power of data to show what’s working and what’s not, and progress toward your goals. The data must be focused (i.e., 1,000 data points are not helpful). It’s compelling for staff to see the evidence and work toward targets. Dashboards and scorecards also enhance transparency and foster accountability.

Gradually shifting the culture of large networks of people and systems is complex and take time. While the precise evolution of this new culture cannot be fully controlled or predicted, there are steps you can take to facilitate positive and progressive change that supports optimal care delivery.

Next up in our blog series on clinical delivery optimization, we’ll discuss alignment and collaboration with physicians. To learn more, download Creating a Culture of Optimal Care Delivery.

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