Leadership
Clip
Health Care Partnerships Rise All Ships (03:01)

What are some health care partnerships that went well? John Ayanian, Director of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, asks Joneigh Khaldun, Director and Health Officer for the Detroit Health Department, to describe a public health and health system partnership that tackled a tough problem.

Khaldun says that during her time as Chief Medical Officer in Baltimore’s health department, they decreased infant mortality by about 40% over several years. “They did that by doing the exact things I was talking about: bringing people together,” she says. “It started with public health and health systems, but it ended up being over 100 folks who were all on the same page; they aligned their resources, they talked about what are we doing well and what should we be doing more of, and then they talked about what are we going to stop doing.” As a result, the quality of home visiting programs improved and infant mortality decreased, too.

Ayanian next asks Michigan surgeon Michael Englesbe what ingredients brought people to the table in health care partnerships across the state of Michigan and kept them working together to improve the quality of surgical procedures and address the opioid epidemic.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s partnership with Michigan’s health systems “has been a particularly inspiring approach,” Englesbe says. The insurance company has invested significant resources to bring change in health care to the bedside while having frontline nurses and doctors drive that change. “It allows us, in our state, to respond to things like the opioid epidemic — understanding that I just talked about a small part of the opioid epidemic — but we can respond to it pretty quickly unlike any other state because we have this platform for change,” he says, adding, “And after long-term investment from Blue Cross, we have trust; the payers and the state and physicians trust each other to try to make Michigan the healthiest state possible.”

However, Englesbe does point to the challenges of health care partnerships. “Five emails today,” he says, illustrating the point that maintaining a successful partnership takes a continuous effort. He describes one strategy that has helped: “Every hospital is the best at something, so using data flows to identify excellence and partnering with that hospital to have them teach us what they are the best at,” he says. “Celebrating excellence, and really not focusing on the hospitals that are low performing. That’s kind of risen all ships, so to speak.”

This is a theme we heard from Mary O’Connor, Ayanian notes — celebrating progress and success. She described it within a team or within one hospital, and Englesbe says it’s an important factor across hospitals.

From the NEJM Catalyst event Essentials of High-Performing Organizations, held at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, July 25, 2018.

More From Leadership
Percent in Highest Bracket in Patient Satisfaction Scores - Pre-Post Arm Differences for Hospitalists - Duke Coaching Communication Skills Study

Coach, Don’t Just Teach

The effect of one-on-one communication coaching on clinicians’ communication skills and patients’ satisfaction.

Two-Thirds of Organizations Have a Nurse Leader Career Path

Survey Snapshot: Do Nurse Leaders Need Advanced Degrees?

Though NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members acknowledge a lack of advancement opportunities for nurse leaders, two-thirds of their organizations have a nurse leader career path.

Nurse Leaders and Physician Leaders Should Be Considered Equals in Care Delivery - but Views of Nurses and Non-Nurses Differ

Leadership Survey: Nurses as Leaders: Broad Acceptance, Room to Grow

Nurses are traditionally the backbone of patient care. They form the largest percentage of the health care workforce, far outstripping physicians. But are nurses leaders as well as doers?

The CMO Role of the Future - Baptist Health Survey Results

Examining the Continuously Evolving Role of the Chief Medical Officer

Hospital and system leaders need to sharpen the focus of CMO roles to include system-wide considerations beyond the walls of the hospital.

Meyer01_header - Seven Challenges and Seven Potential Solutions for Large-Scale EHR Implementation

Seven Challenges and Seven Solutions for Large-Scale EHR Implementations

Salient lessons learned over multiple electronic health record implementations.

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital ZSFGH A3 thinking Personal Development Plan A3 leader standard work improvement management example board

Changing Leadership Behavior Gets Real Results

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital deployed its new leadership culture, which emphasizes staff decision-making, self-reflection, and clarity in defining problems and goals, to successfully address a crisis involving record-high patient volumes.

Khatri02_pullquote Connectors

The Crucial Role of Connectors in Large Health Care Organizations

Creating a truly collaborative community involves connecting the right people at the right time and in the right places.

Women of Impact Checklist - Advancing Workplace Equity

Lead In: Women of Impact in Health Care on Advancing Equity in the Workplace

Raising the standards of equity and wellness in our workplaces so we effectively advance health for the populations we serve.

Historical and Projected Numbers of Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants.

Growing Ranks of Advanced Practice Clinicians — Implications for the Physician Workforce

The number of NPs and PAs is growing rapidly, while physician supply has slowed. This research projects the number of NPs, PAs, and physicians through 2030.

IBM solutions to physician burnout roundtable participants: Christina Maslach, Paul DeChant, Tait Shanafelt, Namita Seth Mohta, Karen Weiner, Edward Prewitt

NEJM Catalyst Roundtable Report: Seeking Solutions to Physician Burnout

An NEJM Catalyst roundtable sponsored by IBM Watson Health brought together four experts, all deeply engaged in reducing physician burnout from different perspectives, to share in a robust discussion.

Connect

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

Learn More »

Topics

Leading Teams

161 Articles

Survey Snapshot: Do Nurse Leaders Need…

Though NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members acknowledge a lack of advancement opportunities for nurse leaders,…

Community Health Workers Are Critical

Community health workers really do need to be from the community.

Physician Burnout

43 Articles

Patient Engagement from Both Sides of…

When patients and families are included in medical rounds as valued members of the team,…

Insights Council

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

Apply Now