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HR's Role in Developing a Patient Driven Culture

Let’s face it, doctor or hospital visits are not always pleasant. You’re more than likely there because the quality of your health is questionable and you’re probably already feeling stressed and overwhelmed over the unknown. So, it certainly doesn’t help matters when healthcare staff are inattentive and impatient.


As healthcare shifts more towards caring for the whole patient, mind, body, and spirit, learning to build positive relationships with them is key. This is especially true for physicians who have a reputation for having poor relationship building skills. So how can HR professionals help nurture a patient driven culture that promotes compassion, communication, empathy, teamwork, humility, and all the other qualities patients deserve when it comes to their care?


This is where HR professionals have an opportunity to drive change and help improve the patient care experience by developing a patient driven HR Strategy.


It Starts with Leadership

Leaders set the tone for the organizational culture. This is especially true in healthcare where leaders set the pace for how clinicians interact with both each other and with patients. Leaders create an organizational culture through their behavior and attitudes. In healthcare, many executives may have an excellent clinical background but may lack other qualities needed to creative a positive patient driven culture.


While it is true that leaders in all professions benefit greatly from strategic leadership development, I think it is wise to recognize that clinical leaders are often cut from a different cloth. While they may be excellent clinical and advocates for their patients, some may fall short when it comes to advocating and being a leader for their employees or even their colleagues. So perhaps, healthcare HR leaders can take some extra time to dive deeper and determine the unique needs facing clinicians, especially those in leadership roles.


Not All Healthcare Settings Are Created Equal, So Know Your Industry

It's not secret that healthcare is shifting away from the traditional hospital settings and providing new and innovative ways for patients to receive care. For instance, over the years that has been a major focus providing care for patients in their homes and in alternative settings.


Also, there has been a shift towards community health and reducing healthcare costs by focusing on preventative health in under served communities.


With all of the different models of patient care as well as the rapidly growing use of innovative healthcare technology (biotech is booming if you didn't already know), it is imperative for healthcare HR leaders to align their HR strategy to support the changing dynamics. Whether your setting is hospice & palliative care, acute care, or home care, know what challenges your clinical and non-clinical leaders are facing so you can best know how to serve.


Develop a Patient Driven Talent Management Strategy

Just like leaders set the tone for organizational culture, hiring and retaining the right staff plays a key role in developing a patient driven culture as well. I know that mission alignment gets mentioned quite a bit in blogs and articles but the same principles still apply in a healthcare setting, even more so.


The people you hire are a reflection of what your organization values which could impact the quality of patient care for better or for worse.


This is where HR comes in and can help clinical leaders attract and retain talent who have the attitudes, experiences, and skills that align with the organization’s core values. Patient focused HR strategies must be integrated into every HR process from recruiting, to on-boarding, to performance management, to total rewards, to succession planning.


Overall, developing a patient driven culture starts with our own self-examination because clinical skills can be taught but behavior and attitude start on the inside.

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