Leadership
Clip
“The Needs of the Patient Come First” (03:49)

“The needs of the patient come first” is a Mayo Clinic refrain, according to Eddie Greene, Director of Diversity in Education. Is there an opportunity to grow that patient-centered approach to leadership at other organizations? University of Utah Health Care CEO Vivian Lee and MetroHealth System CEO Akram Boutros weigh in.

“We can’t be a great medical center if our patients don’t think we’re great.” In response to these words from Lee’s predecessor, University of Utah began its patient satisfaction surveys in 2008. “What was really important was the questions that we asked our patients, which were about respect, about communication, about engagement in the decision-making process,” says Lee. She notes that initially, patient feedback was provided to physicians privately so that they could distill and determine how to respond to it themselves. “I really believe that set us on the journey to being a patient-centered organization,” Lee explains. “Because the questions that we asked were questions that our physicians helped us choose, and they weren’t about the food, they weren’t about things that the physicians couldn’t control. They were really about that relationship.”

“Physicians got onto this positive reinforcement situation where it just felt good to read good things about you from your patients, [and] the whole mindset of the organization just became so much more patient centered,” she adds.  “And I think that’s the first step to this transformation.”

“Physicians have an undue burden they place upon themselves, which is that they feel like they are the captain of the ship, they’re in charge of everything. We teach medical students: don’t trust anything unless you did it yourself,” says Boutros.

To lessen this burden at MetroHealth, they decided “to create the camaraderie that we talked about.” This started with the implementation of TeamSTEPPS, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in a couple areas of the organization. The pilot worked well, according to Boutros, in providing psychological safety. “Within 11 months, we decided to become a training site,” he says. “And now, 3,600 or 3,700 of our 7,000 employees are trained in TeamSTEPPS. It’s organization wide, everyone supports each other knowing that the patient is at the center, and if I watch you fail, that’s as much my fault as it is yours.”

From the NEJM Catalyst event Leadership: Translating Challenge to Success at Mayo Clinic, June 2, 2016.

More From Leadership

Leadership Survey: Anticipating the Trump Administration’s Impact on Health Care

NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members predict no clear winners, only losers. Some of their concerns have already been borne out.

What Type of Leader Do I Wish to Be?

Surprisingly, insufficient attention is given to the skills that produce fine leaders.

Health Care Providers Must Act Now to Address the Prescription Opioid Crisis

Combatting the opioid crisis goes beyond changing prescribing practices.

Protecting the Tired, the Poor, the Huddled Masses

After President Trump’s executive order banning refugees, the United States is no longer a bright beacon of hope to suffering people around the world.

Data Graphic: Time Frame for Trump Administration Plan on New Regulations

When will we see a comprehensive plan from the Trump administration on new health care regulations?

Data Graphic: What Can HHS Secretary Tom Price Do?

HHS Secretary Tom Price has signaled that he will review the ACA closely. What can he do to support, alter, or undermine the law?

Wanted: Talented, Energetic, Creative People to Work on Difficult, Boring Problems. No Perks.

Let’s admit the inconvenient, boring truth.

Eddie Greene04 Panel Clip Still: Financial Stewardship - Managing for Population Health or Volume, Not Both

Manage for Population Health or Volume — Not Both

If you’re doing the right thing to transform care delivery, your organization can bear the cost.

Data Graphic: The ACA Repeal Update

NEJM Catalyst’s regular review of proposed health care legislation as it compares to the Affordable Care Act.

Data Graphic: How the American Health Care Act Will Impact Americans

Older, low-income consumers are the biggest losers when it comes to impact on premiums.

Connect

A weekly email newsletter featuring the latest actionable ideas and practical innovations from NEJM Catalyst.

Learn More »

Topics

Primary Care

101 Articles

Changing How We Pay for Primary…

Primary care accounts for more than half of the United States’ office visits, but direct…

Medicare

69 Articles

Improving Hospital Incentives with Better Cost…

Hospitals’ existing cost data could be used to substantially increase the accuracy of the Medicare…

Insights Council

Have a voice. Join other health care leaders effecting change, shaping tomorrow.

Apply Now