The Secret Sits

I recently used Robert Frost’s poem “The Secret Sits” as a blog writing prompt…

“We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.”

In the blog I suggest that much of what we do as leaders in healthcare (the dance) and what we measure in healthcare are disconnected from what our patients and staff really want and need (the secret sitting in the middle).

I was recently in a hospital conference room preparing for a leadership meeting; the walls were papered from floor to ceiling with graphs, tables and charts… a “loud” visual statement that a myriad aspect of operations was being measured and reported. During our meetings I dug a little deeper, listened to the leaders, caregivers and patients, and then looked a little closer at the “scores” on the walls.

Outcomes, as measured and reported, apparently hadn’t changed much over the past two-years… It was not lost on me either that this conference room that is billed as the “control-center” of operations felt lifeless and soulless… For an organization committed to ‘health’ and ‘care’, this felt like a disconnect.

And I’ve seen hospitals that are listening to the “secret”. They are measuring, reacting and acting differently. They are breathing life into their data and working on ways to make it as real-time as the work and care that it is intended to measure. Outcomes are improving, care is safer and the experience of those caring and being cared for is markedly improved; so I am optimistic and incredibly hopeful that we can rethink what we measure and how we act. How we lead.

Check out my blog “Improving the Experience of Care” (first in a two-part series) on our company’s site. I’d love your thoughts, comments and ideas:

  • Are we measuring the right things in healthcare?
  • Is chasing an improved CAHPS score, or a better CMS Star Rating, the right way to drive change?
  • Can we measure everything that matters?
  • How do you measure a healthy, effective and respectful culture?
  • What’s the secret that you’re dancing around?

 

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