Because the healthcare landscape is in a state of extreme disruption, the ability to adapt is essential for organizations and their leadership teams. Players outside the sector, changing workforce and patient demographics, new technologies, cost pressures, and other influences are challenging hospital and health systems’ abilities to perform as expected.
Amid this ambiguity, a lack of urgency is preventing organizations from adjusting to a business environment in flux. Never has it been more important for leaders to show courage, learn, and guide their organizations to the front lines of innovation. In today’s world, being a learning organization—one in which leaders and team members lean together into change, rather than back away—is crucial to remaining relevant. To quote philosopher Eric Hoffer, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
At Virginia Mason, a health system based in Seattle, Washington, our management methodology—the Virginia Mason Production System—allows the organization to be a nimble responder to change. It also empowers individuals across the enterprise, regardless of job or title, to assume hands-on roles in accomplishing our collective vision to transform healthcare. This “we culture” shines a bright light on improvement opportunities and provides the framework needed for collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts to develop solutions.