martes, octubre 26, 2004

What's the Difference Between Your Hospital and the Other?

El artículo titulado como este post, de la web HealthLeaders, señala que toda la sabiduría acerca de la gestión empresarial, acuñada a lo largo de los últimos tiempos, no ha sido aplicada, ni transferida, a la gestión diaria de los centros sanitarios. Hay que mirar hacia dentro, y buscar la estrategia ideal para las organizaciones que dirigimos, y hacernos las eternas preguntas de siempre:
  1. What is our core business? Think this one through and don't just dismiss it as a given. Some hospitals are in the business of teaching and some are in the business of serving the general community. Some are in the business of improving health and some are in the business of providing medical services. These are not necessarily the same business. The first step to a successful strategy is clearly articulating your core business and fully accepting what that means.
  2. Who are our "customers" and what do they want? This is a particularly vexing question for hospitals. Is the "customer" the physician, the insurance company or the patient? Many hospitals will answer "all three." If that is your answer, then your task is to reconcile the many conflicts between what these "customers" want.
  3. Which dogmas are wrong? Webster defines differentiation as "the process of becoming unique or distinct" and dogma as "something held as an established opinion." By definition, dogma is the enemy of differentiation. If everyone thinks or acts the same, there can be nothing that is truly different. Like every industry, healthcare is filled with dogmas, many of which are wrong or vulnerable to being completely overturned by some unconventional thinkers with nothing to lose. Your job is to examine your dogmas and explore the implications of them being proven 180 degrees wrong.
  4. What do we value? Differentiation is achievable and meaningful only if it is wholly consistent with the core values of the organization. Aggressive low-cost leadership is probably the wrong strategy choice for an organization that most values being on the cutting edge of technology. Likewise, a customer intimacy strategy will be a tough sell in an organization that does not place a very high value on service.
  5. Where can we excel? Healthcare organizations must be honest in the appraisal of their own capabilities. Wishful thinking cannot substitute for reality. Nobody can be great at everything but everybody can be great at something. Find those few core competencies that currently exist in your organization or may be created in the near future.
  6. What drives our income? Of course, differentiation is nothing if the area in which you are different provides no economic return. One may want to be different in one particular area but that distinctiveness must have a payback.
  7. Are we willing to commit for the long run? The final key factor is sustainability. Significantly altering course every three to five years is not going to cut it. Given the relatively short tenure of healthcare CEOs, this means that governing boards must step up and truly commit the organization to a strategic direction and then ensure that the organization is unwavering in that commitment. This is not meant to imply sticking with something that is clearly not going to work. But there will be many temptations and pressures to prematurely abandon a good strategy that takes a while to unfold, or a strategy that may be highly unpopular in some circles, or a strategy that proves more difficult than originally imagined. Successful organizations stay the course even through the whitewater periods.