Hospitals Turn to Creativity and Innovation to Deliver Better Care

A doctor from the United States uses a stethos...

Image via Wikipedia

Though it may be counter to how many people view productivity, in order to improve patient safety while being squeezed by health care reform, Bassett Healthcare Network is giving leaders and staff paid sabbatical days. Wouldn’t it be great if all workplaces gave employees paid sabbatical days? You’re probably thinking you’d love the time off. But, what does paid time off have to do with delivering better health care? Well, Bassett Healthcare Network recognizes that doing more with less requires creativity and innovation. Sabbatical days allows leaders and staff the time to think up and pursue new ideas.  This time away from the daily grind and pressures of meeting financial performance goals and providing better services paves the way to think differently about the challenges that plague the health care industry.

As you can imagine, implementing sabbatical days and focusing on creativity and innovation takes a cultural shift. With any established organization there is resistance to change. Some of the ways Basset Health Care Network is helping to build a culture of creativity and innovation in addition to the policy of paid sabbatical days includes:

  • Exposing hospital executives to the front lines of hospital care. Think of it as, out of the board room and into patient rooms. This practice is resulting in bringing together the executive staff with the front-line staff.
  • Embracing the notion good ideas come from everywhere.  An expectation is that employees regularly reflect on questions like, “Can an employee two steps lower on the organizational chart ask a question that challenges the firmly held opinion of a leader?”
  • Encouraging discussion rather than order giving and order taking
  • Setting aside a budget for implementing new ideas

Although some of these policies may seem like no-brainers to those not in health care, the established ways of the health care system are deeply embedded within the people, processes, policies and culture. Inviting change also means inviting fear. When summing up the challenges faced with embracing creativity and innovation the vice president of nursing and patient care services said, “They’re afraid.”

At the end of the day change can be scary to many. Creativity and innovation don’t come easy within established businesses and institutions. A focus on the people-side of the equation and the culture of the organization can help improve success.



Bush, Haydn. In an era of ‘doing more with less, executives nurture creativity. Hospitals and Health Networks, June 11, 2011.

This article was originally posted on IIR’s Front End of Innovation as Hospitals Turn to Creativity and Innovation to Deliver Better Care.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *