Best Practices Healthcare Leadership

How Hospitals Can Perform Like a Well-Oiled Machine

By Kelly Putman, Director, EVS

If one department within a hospital misses out on key communications, the entire system could be compromised. As healthcare facilities strive to function like a well-oiled machine, it’s critical that departments all work together to support the end customer—the patient. I have found this extremely important as it pertains to the relationships built between healthcare departments. By simply following these three initiatives, departments can efficiently operate together while positively impacting the patient experience.

View Each Department as Your Customer

No matter the business, the quality of  customer service you provide begins from within. The support you provide to other departments helps everyone get the job done more efficiently. Developing relationships with departments helps you to gain respect for each other, while providing opportunity to enhance the level of service. A great way to start is by visiting the offices of other department leaders, introducing yourself, and working to develop a personal relationship. A simple hello can go a long way in creating camaraderie and respect for one another. 

Communicate and Be Transparent

In short, just talk to each other—whether the situation is good or bad. We are not robots, and as such we need to collaborate to overcome obstacles and to create proactive initiatives to avoid future issues. To perform like a well-oiled machine we must keep everyone involved and in the loop. Not only does this ensure other departments are aware of situations you’re dealing with, but it also allows trusting relationships to form. 

For example, our EVS department was recently struggling to recruit housekeepers for a small outbuilding off campus. By simply communicating with the nurse leader about where we were in the hiring process, we were able to establish clear communication and garner support from the nursing department, who picked up the slack while we searched for new help. Alternatively, when the nursing team did not have CNA help, the EVS team provided extra support by taking on some of the tasks a CNA would manage, such as removing soiled linen. 

Make the Extra Effort

Nothing will change if you don’t first make the effort to form relationships with other departments. By reaching out to other leaders and then taking care to support their efforts, you set the tone for the relationship. A great place to start is by connecting after morning huddles. Reach out to another leader and ask how you can support them throughout the week. Initiating this conversation builds trust and allows you to connect and support each other. By establishing that connection, you can start a productive conversation to support the needs of other departments and collaborate on initiatives. Go the extra mile by sitting down with a department leader and learning about their struggles and how your team can help. 

When there are communication barriers or a lack of trust, departments tend to stay siloed. We need to stop that mentality, and instead start working for each other. Following these simple tips will allow you to create a more productive and collaborative team and will drive efficiencies across all levels of patient care.