Large HealthCare Organization : Putting the Caring Back into Healthcare

  • 5
  • November 15, 2013
  • David Lapin

Case Study Details

The Challenge

How to deal with competing values
The VP of Human Resources of a large healthcare organization was energetically imparting the value of caring in the organization. The entire team espoused this value, and the CEO supported it. However, the VP of Operations was driving a relentless, cost-reduction strategy to ensure the survival of the organization in a very tumultuous phase of their industry. Both leaders were exceptional individuals with impressive intellectual and moral stature, and both drove their campaigns hard. Both initiatives were seen as vital for the organization, and each department enjoyed an excellent relationship. Yet the value of caring for patients undermined the strategy to limit costs and pursue efficiencies. The team could not reconcile the need to reduce patient/nurse ratios with the value of caring. They also couldn't understand the downsizing of certain departments in an organization that claimed to care not only for its patients, but also for its team.

As a result, the organization not only failed to achieve its cost-cutting goals, but it also witnessed a reduction in the level of care. More serious, however, was the loss of employee respect surrounding the integrity of their leadership. The values initiative lost credibility, as all that seemed to matter was the focus on cost-cutting. Patients also suffered from the deterioration of care, and the organization's ability to sustain its dominant competitive position was jeopardized.

The Solution
Realignment of values within the organization's culture

Lapin International (formerly SBE) changed cost-consciousness from a survival tactic to a value that was vital to patient caring. Lapin International's efforts led the nursing staff and other team members to see the hospital's commitment to cost efficiency as a moral imperative, versus just a business initiative, that extended quality medical care to people at the lowest possible cost. The nursing staff then began to seek their own ways to cut costs as a necessary part of patient care. Staff reductions, initiated by the nursing staff themselves, did not cause resentment, nor did they negatively impact the quality of patient care. Lapin International helped translate these and other supporting values into a code of conduct that management and the entire team began to live by. With the alignment and integration of this new value system, the entire organization soon witnessed astonishing results, both in the team's commitment to achieving increased cost efficiencies and in the improvement and excellence of care.