The U.S. News & World Report has recently published its yearly Best Hospitals Honor Roll naming the top 20 hospitals in the country. While this year's winners differ in size, location, specialization and other aspects, they do share characteristics that make them shine.
We've identified three crucial ingredients that these leading facilities have in common. They can be adopted into the framework of any healthcare business, large or small. Let's see what these features are.
Putting patients' needs first is a characteristic that can never be stressed enough. Complacency is often what causes a whittle away effect of Patient Centric models. Many doctors and healthcare managers do not realize that the patient's wellbeing is not something you achieve once and then your job is done. Instead, it is a continuous pursuit of improvement at every touch point.
America's medical leaders are well aware of this priority and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that patients are treated with proper care. One example of this is at the Mayo Clinic. They have recently announced that they are planning to vastly extend the range of medical services available at the patient's home. These will include procedures that are usually only available in facilities, such as infusions or laboratory and imaging services. The idea to introduce this home based program originated from the increasing interest in receiving professional care in the comfort of one's house, and they capitalized on the movement.
Show your patients that you care
Showing patients that you genuinely care for them goes a long way in earning their trust. Clinicians from UCLA Medical Centers have launched two initiatives to ease the last moments of their dying patients and alleviate the grief of their friends and families. The goal of the 3 Wishes Project is to honor the patient by fulfilling their last wishes. At the same time, the No One Dies Alone program engages a network of palliative caregivers and physicians to assist families and help them throughout the difficult time.
Staff and managers of the leading hospitals understand that there is always more that can be done for their patients, you too should be on a constant lookout for possible improvements. Whether a simple adjustment or a total makeover, the humane approach will always go a long way in the eyes of your patients.
Long-Term Thinking and Adaptability
In an ever-evolving world, planning is an invaluable asset in healthcare. From research (Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital) to investment (Marin General Hospital in San Francisco), the hospitals ranked in this year's honor roll engage in long-term activities and always keep an eye towards the future.
Adopting such an approach doesn't necessarily require a massive budget. Networking, cooperating with other local practices, participating in conferences and thought leadership and staying on top of the latest healthcare trends are some inexpensive ways to stay ahead of the curve.
Always be ready to embrace change
Adaptability is vital because it allows you to react to any sudden changes quickly and effectively. The way the best hospitals responded to the current pandemic demonstrates their ability to adapt and shift effort to matters that needed immediate attention and change.
A few examples of change due to COVID-19 include Johns Hopkins launching an online resource hub that collects data and articles covering the novel virus. It features a map that enables tracking of the number of cases around the world. The Cleveland Clinic has just opened a new research center devoted to infectious diseases. And Mayo Clinic has published a study that points to plasma treatment as a possible method of cushioning the impact of the virus.
Regardless of your financial abilities, embracing a proactive and responsive mindset will help your business thrive in any situation, just like it does in the case of the best hospitals.
Staying Open to Innovation
Every month brings new discoveries in medicine. Staying up-to-date on breakthroughs and taking advantage of them can give your practice the edge needed to stay ahead of the curve. We've already mentioned research, but innovation in healthcare goes beyond just medical breakthroughs.
For example let's take a look at telemedicine services. In the last few months because of the pandemic, we've seen a 42% increase in the usage of telemedicine. If your practice was not on top of this technology, then we've seen how this likely created a very difficult learning curve for both you and your patients. On the flip side, most of the ranked hospitals have already been using telemedicine technology for some time. This made the transition from office based care to telemedicine based care much more fluid for both patients and physicians alike.
Leverage technology to enhance the patient experience
Johns Hopkins's telemedicine offering demonstrates how you can combine innovation with a patient-oriented attitude. The hospital offers highly flexible services across various devices and in multiple languages, including sign language. If preferred, patients can contact their doctors from schools, community centers, or care facilities partnered with Johns Hopkins.
Thomas J. Graham, MD from the Cleveland Clinic, has laid out 10 general rules for implementing innovative philosophy in healthcare. It's a useful read, especially if you need to be convinced or reassured that searching for new solutions is advantageous and feasible. To quote rule number 5, "Innovation is a discipline that can be practiced, learned, taught, and measured."
The above features and healthcare characteristics are largely intermingled. Investing in new technologies and embracing adaptability will help in meeting new patient needs. There is no single, fail-proof recipe for success in healthcare. Still, the example of America's best hospitals proves that the combination of patient-focused attitude, adaptability, and innovation can be the first step towards excellence.