ActionCue CI Solution for Executives

Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action—Part 4

In a recent webinar for our ActionCue clients, Prista’s panel of experts answered questions about healthcare innovation and the role of leadership in creating action that improves patient safety and quality.

We covered nine of these questions in previous posts—Part 1Part 2 and Part 3. In this one, we will discuss the final three questions. Before we begin, let’s review who the panelists in this webinar were.

As President and Founder of Prista, Don Jarrell brings more than 30 years of technology experience in products management, application design, technology strategy and intellectual property management licensing. Don has provided the vision for Prista and for the ActionCue application.

Billie Anne Schoppman is a Registered Nurse and CPHQ (Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality) with more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As the Chief Mission Officer at Prista, she brings her passion to create the most efficient environment for improvement.

Dr. Jake Redden is a member of Prista’s Advisory Board with expertise in patient safety, healthcare quality, human factors, crew resource management, and safety culture, and is certified in healthcare quality and patient safety.



10. What is the biggest or most strategic impact when using the kinds of innovations we’re talking about that directly benefit user organizations?


Don Jarrell: We talk a lot about innovation in terms of daily impact because we’re trying to adjust behavioral interactions regarding the quality and safety efforts, but we’re actually improving the entire management process too.

When we can use technology to shape the workflow and keep it moving so that incident investigations don’t stall, data doesn’t get unreported and various reports don’t drive right into the performance improvement segment, we’re changing the process by which hospitals are managed.

It’s not about giving a motivational speech and turning up the heat on people to get results. It’s about actually changing the process and facilitating what management is expecting by their presence and their actual involvement in the workflows to some degree, not in a way that’s going to overburden them or keep them connected at arm’s length, but in a way that uses all of the leadership principles Dr. Redden talked about.

These things will change the way the organization is actually carrying out its management process, and that’s what we’re really after. We’re not asking anybody to act heroically based on being super revved up in their motivations. We’re simply enabling them to work a little harder and contribute a little more. That will naturally turn into a sense of satisfaction that really helps sustainability.

Dr. Jake Redden: What I always look for from a strategic impact is the production of improvement. We’ve got to measure the amount of work done towards making improvements, whether it’s the number of policies updated, daily process audits, kaizens, rapid process improvement events, standard working element or SOPs.

We’ve got to get our front line employees to first speak up for safety and then be involved in the production of improvements. That is where the real strategic impact is going to come from. We drive innovation with improvement productions in order to make our units in hospitals more efficient, safer and patient focused.


11. What can managers who want to address system issues do when they don’t feel executives are listening? 


Don Jarrell: If the CEO is not responding to input that they’re getting from managers, senior managers should be able to ask “Why don’t you think this is important?” Or phrased more positively, “What could we do to convince you that this is important? What change to the mechanics or the presentation of information or the flow of information could make you feel more engaged and like this was a higher priority?”

I don’t think there’s any way you can force somebody, but you can certainly dialogue with them to start off, just asking them the very simple why or why not questions, in a non-accusatory way, so that you can actually find out what the barrier is and how it can be addressed.

Dr. Jake Redden: The joke I use with my provider partners is the same joke I use for my executive team—you’ve got to tell them something three times before they’ve heard it once, and you’ve got to tell them three more times so they will think it was their idea.

What I always recommend people do is to make things visual for executive teams. They have a limited amount of time, so you’ve got to get in there and make the bad side of the information as visible as possible. Put it up there three different ways and continue to put it up there every single month in a unique, innovative way. Eventually they’re going to say, “You know what? We should do something about that.”

Again, you’ve got to be consistent. You’ve got to stick to it. If they don’t buy it the first time, you’ve got to subtly continue to sell that through frequency. You’ve got to make it visual until they finally admit there’s an issue, and then they’ll get involved with helping make that improvement.


12. Where can I get answers to my questions about performance improvement or healthcare quality?


Dr. Jake Redden: There are a ton of resources out there. Both Billie and I are big fans of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ). If you look up what it takes to become certified in healthcare quality, they have an excellent reading list that they keep up-to-date. For patient safety, there’s the National Patient Safety Foundation, in association with the IHI.

It’s really tough being a quality leader in healthcare because there’s no quality school you can go to. I’ve seen hospitals that have just brought in lead engineers or improvement leaders from manufacturing and automotive. They don’t quite adapt to the culture, and they don’t develop the interpersonal relationships or adjust to the uniqueness of provider partners and our nurse leaders.

Of course, you can’t just bring in a nurse or a floor tech and expect them to have that kind of systems thinking ability or the 10,000 foot view of how we drive improvement for the long term through culture changes, either. You’ve got to find individuals who think differently and continually reinvest in those folks through seminars and classes

Billie Anne Schoppman: Drexel University has an online MSN degree in safety and risk management in healthcare, which is a great opportunity for learning. I think they’re going in the right direction and it’s good to see. You can also check out CPHQ and the CPHRM. They’re kind of separated, and I’d love to see them combined. It’s all about integrating it all together.


We are delighted that you have joined us for this series as we reviewed 12 important questions about Healthcare Innovation, Leadership and Action. Reach out to us via email or on social media if you have questions, comments or input on additional questions you think should be addressed.

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About the Author Faris Islam


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