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Elevating HTM out of the basement

August 17, 2018
HTM Parts And Service
Going Up! Next stop, a seat at the table
From the August 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By Mike Busdicker and Perry Kirwan

Here are seven imperatives for Healthcare Technology Management leaders looking to demonstrate value in fulfilling their organizations’ mission and vision.

HTM departments today face a number of challenges: adapting to consumerism and value-based care, assimilating newly acquired care organizations, staying current with technology, dealing with an aging workforce.

But no challenge is more pervasive and critical than fully demonstrating value to the care networks’ financial and clinical leadership. Proof of impact to the bottom line and to the organization’s mission and vision is the key to ensuring a steady flow of resources to support effective HTM performance.

For too long, HTM departments have figuratively lived in the hospital basement, often dismissed as fix-it shops and targeted for cost reduction. It’s incumbent on HTM leaders to raise their departments’ stature as essential contributors to clinical excellence and high-quality, cost-effective patient care. Here, drawn from our collective experience, are seven affirmative steps to take in that direction.

Communicate value consistently – within your team and upward
First and foremost, frontline HTM team members need to appreciate fully the value they contribute to the enterprise. Then that value must be communicated outward and upward. To this end, Intermountain Healthcare System holds a tiered process that includes daily and weekly huddles with team members to discuss issues of the day, quick wins, “good catches”, and accomplishments deserving recognition. Where appropriate, items are escalated up the chain, sometimes as far as a final huddle that includes the CEO and executive leaders.

At Banner Health, HTM team members are closely embedded with clinical operations at the hospital level through daily huddles that update equipment status and address pain points, bottlenecks and potential obstacles to quality care. The process helps team members appreciate the full impacts of equipment, upstream and downstream, and it’s hugely beneficial in helping them understand their mission and the importance of their work.

For HTM leaders, meanwhile, there is no substitute for rounding and being visible. Effective leaders are seen frequently not just at leadership meetings but at the point of service and the point of care. Visibility breeds credibility; credibility breeds trust. Those who wish to be trusted must be visible.

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