The first thing that everyone in healthcare should do is frame the fact
that we are here for patients. We serve people. Those people are just
like us. We are all part of an ecosystem. Every one of us will be a patient
one day. Really, it is starting with putting patients at the center and
having conversations about that.
Keeping the patient at the center requires a willingness to lead, an ability
to execute, and a desire or passion to constantly think about putting
the patient at the center of everything that we do. As I was putting the
chapter together and thinking about it organizationally, what should have
seemed intuitive was that anyone can do this. It is not rocket science. It
really is not that complicated for providers or healthcare organizations.
Developing the culture first is really important. That is hard to do
because often when people start messing around with the culture it is
viewed as an attack against the organization. The challenge is not so
much about changing the culture per se, but is really about how we need
to develop to get where we need to be. This is about people taking care of
people; and if we don’t start with that first, we are probably behind.
There is no better time than right now in healthcare to implement a
patient-centered strategy. When looking at the changing environment,
a lot of times the first reaction for many is to put our heads in the sand
and say ‘woe is me’ and it is all bad; healthcare as we know it will be
destroyed. But I don’t see it like that. This is an opportunity to implement
healthcare reform at a higher standard. We should embrace transparency.
We should embrace the patient-centered aspects of this. We should
embrace the opportunity to get healthcare silos to work together. This is
James Merlino, MD
Former Chief, Experience Officer
Cleveland Clinic Health System
President and Chief Medical
Officer of Strategic Consulting