Healthcare is Focusing on Patients AND Its People, So I’m Headed Back to My Roots

on June 5, 2018

I started working in healthcare, ran from it (twice), yet here I am being pulled back to the area I vowed was not for me.

I have always been a science nerd. I can tell you all about random science things, especially genetics. I still love to learn about the latest CRISPR technology (genome editing), the new breakthrough in cancer treatment, how we’re going to put people on Mars, and the anthropological discovery of Homo sapiens living more than 100,000 years earlier than we thought. I kill in the science categories of Trivia Pursuit and the local bar trivia game.

But, all that love of science wasn’t enough to keep me in healthcare. I found I didn’t like the way some people behaved in healthcare. It was not the patients and their families; they are allowed to act any way they see fit given what they are going through. I’m talking about the leaders. They had egos, a lack of empathy, a lack of career development and professional growth, a lack of coaching, and a lack of investing in me and other caregivers as humans. While there was a definite focus on the patient experience (PX), the industry as a whole just didn’t seem like a great place to work.

You may be thinking, “Wait, H, healthcare is full of empathy.” Oh, empathy was at the bedside, but walk out of the exam room, and poof, empathy disappeared. The idea of creating a great place to work was foreign. It was all about creating the best medical outcomes, which of course is critical, but I kept asking, “Why can’t the people working here love their place of work and the people they work with too?”

Retail and Hospitality – Where Being a Great Place to Work is a Priority

When I joined Root, I thought, “Maybe it’s just being a provider that I don’t like, and it will be better on the consultant side.” It was better, but I certainly didn’t love it. So, after a few years working in healthcare engagements at Root, I made the switch to retail and hospitality where I found MY PEOPLE!

I loved the investments I could see happening in these industries. I realized front-line managers are the key to success. Front-line employees developed skills that made a career out of that first job at the local fast food restaurant. The leaders who spent time on front lines were connected more fully to what was happening in the field. I saw how engaging employees across all levels resulted in the best customer experience (CX). No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was close. In addition to being a science nerd, I’m also a professional traveler, shopper, and eater. So, these industries quickly had my heart!

A Return to the Patient Experience

Fast-forward to late 2016, I had an opportunity to work with a healthcare client for the first time in many years. We were tasked with helping a system implement a culture of service for both patients and employees. Was I witnessing a healthcare organization on a mission to deliver great experiences for its patients and its people? Record scratch.

Then, just last year I had an opportunity to work on a PX transformation with a three-hospital system. This sealed it for me – healthcare was changing. Taking a hint from the great retail and hospitality brands, healthcare, which had already been focused on the patient experience, recognized that one way to achieve the best patient experience is to invest in the employee experience. So after avoiding healthcare for many years, I worked on two client projects and witnessed two healthcare systems nail it. I know others are following in their footsteps. Like the retail and hospitality industries, healthcare wants to be a great place to work too!

In the PX transformation initiative, Root has been helping this healthcare system in a few key areas that stem from our CX experiences:

  • Creating a patient and family-centric culture
  • Empowering managers to act like owners who lead the change
  • Enabling front-line teams to deliver authentic experiences and take charge of making the experience better

I’ll continue to share my journey back in healthcare with a focus on PX. And never fear, I’m not letting go of my retail and hospitality CX world; I’m just expanding it a bit.

To help me transition back, can you share where have you see healthcare systems change the way they think about their employees? How have you seen healthcare organizations invest in their people in new ways? Let me know your thoughts!

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