MGMA’s annual conference has just started, but I’m already starting to see what I think is a major theme at the event: Collaboration. To say it a different way, I think the theme is:
We Can’t Solve These Problems Alone!!
That’s a message that we need to resonate across all of healthcare. Atul Gawande’s keynote this morning did a great job highlighting this need along with the MGMA Presidents comments yesterday. He talked about how much more efficient an organization can be if everyone is rowing together. Although, I think his comment that struck me most was when he said that just scheduling the time for various people to get together and talk about how they can work together is the first step.
Far too often we get overly prescriptive on what we need healthcare organizations to do. When you do that it’s really easy for an organization to rationalize why their organization’s needs are different and why the prescriptive advice doesn’t work for their organizations. I guess that’s what made Atul’s advice to powerful. It’s really about getting the disparate parties together to talk about ways they can collaborate. They’ll figure it out. They know what will and won’t work, but they’ve just never really sat down to work on the challenges together.
The only other thing I’d add to this advice is to make sure that there are some common goals. A great example of this is seen in how hospitals have come together around hospital readmissions. That common goal has produced results. Atul suggested that a common goal might be focusing on improving care to the 5% of patients who drive 50% of the healthcare costs. He also suggested considering goals like improving patient wait times that will improve the experience for all patients as opposed to just a few patients.
Having everyone involved in a healthcare organization meeting together often to talk about how they can solve common goals is a magical formula.