You see a case for new investments in patient safety and experience in your healthcare organization. There is an institutional appetite for products and strategies that will help you meet your goals. Now you just need to get your CEO on board, right? Easier said than done.
According to a survey released by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), patient safety and quality is ranked third on the top ten most concerning issues for hospital CEOs. Within that category, three issues were highlighted: engaging physicians in improving the culture of quality/safety, engaging physicians in reducing clinically unnecessary tests and procedures and redesigning care processes.
However, financial challenges and constraints took the top spot on executives’ lists of concerns for the 13th year in a row. And, unfortunately, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that strategies for improving patient safety and tight budgets can be at odds with each other.
Fortunately, there are strategies you can leverage to help make your case for investments.
Think like a CEO
For a healthcare executive, the focus is not tomorrow or next week. More likely, they are thinking years ahead. Meet them on that level of thought. Can your idea help the hospital meet benchmarks for value-based purchasing or other incentive programs? How does your organization currently compare to others in terms of a culture of quality and safety? If there is room for improvement (and better yet, if those improvements could yield financial and reputational benefits) road map the route from implementation to achieving those long-term goals. The more boxes your proposed improvement checks – from cost savings to compliance with government recommendations – the more value your CEO will see in it.
Eliminate undefined variables
Phrases like “redesigning care processes” are daunting and sound expensive. To bring your CEO onboard, eliminate some concerns at the start. One way to do that is to come prepared with information about key variables like timelines, anticipated costs and potential risks, associated with the proposal. Better yet, provide proven examples of strategies to facilitate a smooth, seamless change. When Arkansas Children’s Hospital switched to RL6:Risk they worked heavily with RL’s technical support and client success teams to ensure a smooth software implementation. Other strategies like safety huddles and leveraging change-leaders internally can ease transitions and improve onboarding. Assurance that change will be successful will go a long way toward convincing your CEO that it is a worthy investment.
Find champions for your idea
Improvements to patient safety and experience have benefits across the organization. Better ways to capture patient feedback, for example, benefit multiple departments. Position proposed improvements based on all the ways they can add value and find people within these areas (or an influencer higher up in your organization) to help make the pitch with you.
Whether you’re working toward a focused goal, like improving event reporting among emergency department staff, or are thinking big-picture about reducing unnecessary tests and treatments across an organization more information is better. Providing a clear, well-researched proposal for your idea can help shift the focus from dollars and cents to tackling challenges of patient safety and quality.