Monthly Archives: December 2014

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Healthcare Future

By Jean Hitchcock No Comments

At this time of the year, the annual CEO message appears in employee emails,  especially healthcare. It is a time of reflection, anticipation and hopefully, hope!

The roller coaster of healthcare rolls along like Mr. Toad’s wild ride. No one really knows what is around the corner. So why are people drawn to healthcare?  Why do people relish the 24/7 pressure, the life dramas and the constant unknowns.

Most people who spend their careers in healthcare speak to the lifelong learning, the fact that lives are saved, rehabilitated or a quality of life is given to those who seek care. It is a calling that compels people to come back, the next day and the next, despite the intense culture of healthcare.

But every rubber band has a breaking point. At what point do we say this system needs to be fixed in a fundamental way. The Affordable Care Act was about access and the wisdom of that legislation will be debated for years.

But when will we look at the use of resources. The role of insurers, pharmaceutical and device companies is never part of the national discussion. Stronger lobbyists?  No healthcare system in America is making double digits profits; these companies are. How much cutting can we do on the clinical side? The provider side is not asked to reduce expenses and in fact, works at odds with that initiative.

I hope in 2015 there is a comprehensive discussion about healthcare with all the players in the room. My suggestion would be to have a patient sit at the head of the table and I believe the conversations would change and the outcomes would be better.

Enough of my introspection and I hope you have a wonderful 2015. Happy New Year!

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Corporate Culture and Change

If I had a dime for every time I have heard the words toxic corporate culture in recent conversations, I would be the proverbial millionaire.

I work exclusively in health care. And health care is in a period of tremendous change, which causes anxiety for many. And for those who have not worked in a healthcare, it is a very strong and prescribed corporate culture. However, change is also a time for opportunity if you keep an open mind.

But far too often the looming change brings out the worst in people. Turf protection, personal image and perception of success are more important than the company’s mission or values. I have worked in such environments and everyone loses. The organization does not get the best from their people because they are either being micro-managed to death by insecure supervisors terrified of making a mistake or they are focused on getting out of the job.

These times call for those who embrace change and look, really look for the opportunities to be had. Leaders need to communicate that their organization will not only survive, but thrive in these changing time and ask for everyone’s best.

So while leaders can design the best operating plans, they need to be mindful of the culture of their organization. Culture kills strategy every time and during times of change, addressing your culture needs to be your first priority.

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Customer Service?

By Jean Hitchcock No Comments

Recently, I had two of the worse customer service interactions imaginable. No, let me take that back. I could not imagine customer service experiences as bad as these two.

One was with an international car rental company and the other was a national retailer; I do a lot of business with both firms.

After countless emails, photo documentation and phone calls, I took matters into my own hands, literally. I found the names of the entire executive leadership team and the chairman of the board. I then wrote a very nice letter with full documentation of my experience and mailed, yes, snail – mailed the letters to the companies.

In both cases, I received calls from the President’s office and both disputes were quickly resolved. But I couldn’t let it go. So I asked both of them why the rapid response? Both said that they NEVER get mail from customers, especially the entire executive team. They both asked me to provide some “learning moments” that could be shared with their customer service team and they apologized.

Never underestimate the power of the pen and the need to make customer service, personal. Not for the customer but for the company providing the service. I seriously doubt if their CFO or Legal Counsel get individually addressed customer complaints. Maybe they should.