It tends to give us comfort and confidence, but too often it comes with a cost - a reluctance to get other inputs, viewpoints and perspective.
This insular approach tends to be true in health care. Too often, we limit our learning by engaging only with others in our respective fields. Hospitals and health systems engage with similar entities when they wish to learn how to innovate or do things differently. These interactions, of course, can be extraordinarily beneficial. Such cross-fertilization within our industry should continue and accelerate.
However, we need to go further by reaching out to other industries, both for-profit and nonprofit. We all share common elements and challenges, irrespective of the product or services we deliver.
All organizations, whether they are local, regional, national or global, consistently deal with common issues, such as how to:
- recruit and retain staff
- onboard and educate new staff
- develop and implement performance metrics
- develop leadership training programs
- plan for succession
- enhance their supply chain
- make appropriate technology and infrastructure investments
All health systems struggle with these and other issues. Lessons from other industries can be enormously helpful.
For instance, when I started looking into how to create an in-house corporate university at Northwell Health in the late 1990s, I turned to GE for advice because it has a premier corporate university at its campus in Crotonville, NY. I knew I could learn a lot from GE in enhancing staff education and creating a culture of continuous learning.
While I also looked at other organizations, I developed a relationship with leaders at GE to help us design and customize performance enhancement programs such as Six Sigma and Lean. With GE's help, we went on to create what would become our Center for Learning and Innovation in 2002 - one of the first steps I took when I became CEO.