In 2022, post-pandemic, there are five priorities for healthcare leadership that should be on every health executive’s to-do list.
Healthcare leadership has a lot on their plate in 2022. Every day, healthcare executives need to question whether the systems under their watch need to operate or optimize, particularly in the wake of the challenges presented by COVID-19. Fortunately, the pandemic provided innumerable lessons to help pave the path forward.
If put into action, with the appropriate resources, the lessons learned actually have the power to improve this vital pillar of Canadian society, from working conditions and enabling staff to more effective program delivery.
If well-implemented by healthcare leadership, the following priorities could help transform institutions, possibly even the system, addressing a variety of existing and potential challenges:
1. Crisis preparedness, strategic vision, and adaptability
The COVID-19 pandemic made it very clear that in the event of a profound emergency, many organizations were left virtually flat-footed. Moving forward, it’s critical that organizations have the training, execution, and capacity to manage future pandemic waves and crises. Leaders need to keep an eye on future trends, including the potential opportunities through strategic vision training. Additionally, they must put energy and resources into developing a nimble and adaptable organization.
2. Address turnover in healthcare leadership
There is significant turnover in healthcare leadership – there are ample opportunities for qualified candidates. And that’s not expected to change. Rather than a shortcoming, organizations can consider this a unique opportunity to choose new, ideal hires that are not only capable and qualified but provide fresh diversity. This is a great time to train and promote diverse leaders that offer foresight and can effectively advance the range of strategic priorities.
3. Focus on diversity
There is certainly no dearth of qualified, diverse leadership candidates. As organizations consider their talent management, including training and succession planning, it’s to everyone’s benefit when they choose qualified diverse leaders.
Organizations are working hard to deliver patient-centered models of care. And the models must reflect the diverse perspectives of the patients, staff, and communities the organizations serve. So, it only makes sense that healthcare leaders must reflect similarly diverse perspectives.
4. Transform the efficiency of high-quality care
The silver lining to the urgent pandemic response has been innovation, collaboration, and more creative, inspired leadership. But, in the face of huge service backlogs and a depleted workforce, we have to find ways to optimize efficiency without compromising service quality or the health and wellbeing of healthcare workers.
It will require bold decisions by healthcare leadership – inevitable cuts and where to best allocate resources, managing them elsewhere, to most effectively meet critical imperatives for patients and staff alike.
5. Focus on the culture
When an organization and its leadership prioritise culture, they enable staff at all levels, which positively impacts the delivery of care. An organisation’s culture is anchored by its leaders. It also integrates the common language of leadership into all of the organization’s organizational development and human resources functions. This includes candidate selection criteria, job descriptions, performance evaluations, etc.
Organizations that provide a leadership culture tend not to suffer from excessive bureaucracy or stagnation. Additionally, they aren’t plagued by regret – brilliant ideas buried in paperwork in red tape having no chance to flourish. Staff feel the freedom to innovate in alignment with the organization’s priorities, mission, and values.
There is transparency in evaluating outcomes with failures expected, and staff are “accountable to the overall, not the every time”. What is the result of a culture like this? Continuous improvement and enhanced staff contentment and well-being organization-wide, ultimately providing for better results in care delivery and patient satisfaction.