by Christine Burke Eskwitt
Healthcare systems have increasingly begun to develop creative ways to improve performance and satisfaction for both patients and employees. As innovation becomes a mainstay in the healthcare industry, more organizations like Saint Peter’s Healthcare System and Hackensack Meridian Health are carving out leadership positions devoted exclusively to innovative processes and projects.
Engaging Patients and Staff for Better Outcomes
“I was initially hired as Director of Service Excellence at Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in 2001,” says Lisa Drumbore, “and I never looked back.” When Drumbore first started at St. Peter’s, customer satisfaction, or service excellence roles, were just beginning to emerge in healthcare. Drumbore wore many hats, with responsibilities from pastoral care to employee engagement.
In 2016, Drumbore was appointed as Vice President, Chief Experience Officer for St. Peters. “It made sense for a hospital so mission-focused to be ahead of the curve when it came to engaging patients and employees from a business perspective,” says Drumbore. “From a values perspective, we knew it was also the right thing to do.”
To improve performance, leadership must be willing to address fundamental issues within its culture and structure to transform the organization. Drumbore continues to be inspired by transformational principles from one of her favorite books, Ken Blanchard’s 2016 best-seller Lead Like Jesus, which illustrates the philosophy of servant leadership, a set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.
Traditional leadership generally involves the exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
“Success is the result of focusing on culture, communications and fostering lasting, trusted relationships,” concludes Drumbore. “The initiatives that have moved the scores are the ones that have focused first and foremost on culture and leadership.”
Helping Caregivers Do What They Love Most
Increasingly, hospitals are launching innovation centers of their own to work with researchers and design thinkers to tackle the biggest challenges in clinical quality, patient safety, health information technology, healthcare costs, billing and payment, and access to care.
“Innovation can sometimes throw people off,” says Elizabeth Paskas, MSN, RN, NE-BC and Vice President, Experience Innovation & Consumer Services at Hackensack Meridian Health. “But sometimes innovation can be simply a new way of doing things that gets us where we want to be.”
Paskas spent 16 years in Hackensack UMC and for the last ten years worked as a nurse leader on units with opportunities for improvement. Her frontline experience has prepared her with fundamental insights to help caregivers find better ways to do what they already love – taking care of patients and getting the outcomes that they need.
“Change is not always easy,” says Paskas, “but one of the main ways we get buy-in is through a program called the Experience Innovation Café. This is a place where Hackensack Meridian Health team members can come together and share their input and propose options on the strategies, tools, techniques and technologies we want to put into place. We’ve found that this co-design process creates a lot of buy-in on decision making and usually improves the process because we have feedback from so many perspectives, including patients.”
Creativity and imagination are crucial to treating patients and engaging staff, from surgeons to housekeepers. At Hackensack Meridian Health and Saint Peter’s Healthcare, the results of these innovative ideas are making a positive difference in healthcare for New Jerseyans every single day.
Hackensack Meridian Health
Saint Peter’s Healthcare System