The “how” of your work is likely another area that quickly rose to be one of your top priorities during COVID-19.
Beyond clinical protocols and treatment plans, the series of tasks that happen to reach a goal or objective form processes that are clinical, operational, and financial in nature. Some processes are in place only on an as-needed basis; others are how work is done every day. When reviewing processes, it is important to review from several perspectives.
First, healthcare organizations should consider whether they have full awareness and visibility into everyday processes. Holistically knowing what normal processes are enables decision makers to identify what processes need to start, stop, or change in response to a crisis. Some organizations may have emergency processes outlined that were triggered and put to the test under the pandemic. Healthcare organizations need to plan to formalize processes for future emergency events so that processes developed quickly or iterated on during the pandemic can be part of the practice’s future playbook. When formalizing these processes, decision makers should ask themselves whether capacity impacts the process itself. If there are no capacity constraints, there may be nuances to processes where priorities or tasks changed. Clearly considering these changes will improve the formalized processes.
A second consideration for healthcare organizations is to ensure that non-clinical processes receive the same emergency preparedness planning as clinical processes. Because it is the entirety of the practice that ensures success through a crisis, leaders should make sure they have a clear understanding of how non-clinical processes adjust in emergency settings as well.
The final consideration healthcare organizations should verify is how well communication and feedback mechanisms worked. Organizations that were able to clearly communicate new processes, answer questions, and capture feedback that would allow them to finetune work were more likely to see the traction they needed to keep the flow of work moving forward. Organizations that found that processes were well defined but poorly communicated likely found that many bottlenecks and speed bumps were present despite best efforts. Without strong feedback mechanisms, processes may be deployed, but inefficiencies or roadblocks remain unaddressed.
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