Hospital mentorship programs may help align care

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As hospitals attempt to realign both costs and care, they also must adopt physician leaders who will pave the way for the future of healthcare reform and help the hospital and staff thrive during the cultural change. Developing mentorship programs can help facilitate this. However, a recent survey by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) has shown that these types of initiatives may be more feasible in larger hospitals and healthcare systems.

The survey gathered responses from 504 hospitals and 31 healthcare systems and included five categories: selection, performance management, succession planning, learning and development and governance.

Results showed that healthcare systems have adopted best practices for leadership development at a higher rate than freestanding hospitals, 4.87 and 3.69 respectively. These results were based on a scale of one to seven, with one being "not at all," and seven being a "great deal."

"Additionally, the results showed that small hospitals had a slower adoption of leadership development best practices compared to medium and large hospitals," according to the NCHL survey. "According to a study of leadership best practices, an effective leadership development program has broad organizational reach, touching both employees and affiliated professionals and spanning the organization."

Healthcare must address critical issues regarding leadership and organizational performance:

  • How to ensure the availability of leadership prepared to address future challenges and lead transformation;
  • How to transform health professionals working as individuals into a high-performing team;
  • How to align management systems to support culture change and continuous professional development; and
  • How to create an organizational culture dedicated to crossing the quality chasm.

However, larger healthcare systems and hospitals may have an advantage because their selection pool will be greater than smaller to medium-sized hospitals. Formally trained mentors may enable mentees to reach a higher level of leadership more quickly, according to Hospital and Health Networks, a publication of the American Hospital Association.

“The complexity of healthcare today and the changes needed to reform and improve our healthcare system require that providers have the skills and tools to address the questions raised,” according to NCHL. These tools include evidence-based care management processes, adoption of quality improvement techniques, the ability to develop effective teams and electronic health records and data registries.

View the NCHL survey, “Implementation of Leadership Development Best Practices,” here.