International ACHE Profile:
"It is critically important that every team member be competent but also have a diverse background and experience. This will ensure that decisions are well-informed and that the organization is positioned to respond to new challenges."
Q: Tell us briefly about your background in healthcare management.
In 2000 I was promoted to COO with responsibility for all clinical and nonclinical support services. Overseeing the introduction of an MRI service to Bermuda was a significant accomplishment. Achieving the Laboratory Service Accreditation from Joint Commission International and the Mammography Accreditation from the American College of Radiology helped to align quality standards with those in the United States and between 2000 and 2006, I oversaw operational improvement programs.
Q: How did you arrive at your current position?
Q: What are your primary job responsibilities?
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face in your current position?
Q: What is the biggest reward?
Q: Briefly describe the overall healthcare atmosphere in the country in which you work.
Q: How do you see the field of healthcare management changing in the next 5 years?
Q: What advice can you offer for other international affiliates?
Global Developments in Facility Planning and Sustainability
Questions about sustainability in healthcare have generally taken a strategic and direct path: How do we increase energy efficiency? How can my organization reduce its carbon footprint? How can we leverage our sustainability efforts?
While these are all important questions to consider, the emphasis on sustainability efforts differs around the world.
Robin Guenther, FAIA, principal with global architectural firm Perkins + Will, says hospitals in Europe are generally constructed with an energy-efficiency level that is well below hospitals in the United States due to increased costs, and fossil fuel energy is more expensive overseas.
"Because of the expense, going sustainable is much more a part of the business case outside of the United States," Guenther says. "Health systems have to show the economic benefit for using less energy, and when the payment and the return to the owner/operator is knowable, that will make the first cross-capital decisions for energy conservation easier."
Although there are more than 30 green building certification bodies around the world, accreditation is also seen as an expensive undertaking. "There's a perception that it's being done by hospitals that have more money, and that’s fostering the belief that it costs more," she says.
But while the advances and accreditations that have come to define sustainable design in the United States have not yet had as much global impact, other green practices are growing.
Different Definitions for Sustainability
While U.S. hospitals define sustainability more in the technological advancements and equipment they use, hospitals elsewhere view sustainability as designing a hospital where the materials and labor practices relate to the natural environment, Guenther says.
In the developing world, for example, highly sustainable buildings are being built with local materials by local communities using renewable energy technologies and local building traditions. The buildings may not be certified, and might actually be described as low-technology facilities. More often than not, these buildings are the product of innovative solutions in challenging climates. Following are three examples of hospitals that have achieved sustainable design through differing focuses:
"Sustainability has become a catalyst for developing more sophisticated medical delivery for places that have no infrastructure," Guenther says.
"In a lot of ways, there are lessons about resilience in extreme climates and during natural disasters to be learned from the developing world," adds Gail Vittori, LEED AP, co-director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems in Austin, Texas. "The learning for hospital executives goes both ways in sustainability."
New Global Resources for Sustainable Design
As the focus on sustainable healthcare grows, more international resources are becoming available. The World Health Organization offers a Health Promoting Hospitals Network, which promotes the notion of hospitals as anchors in their communities. Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of more than 450 organizations in more than 50 countries, recently published the Global Environment Health Agenda for Hospitals. The agenda is aimed at providing a framework for healthcare organizations to reduce their ecological footprint and lead the way in addressing major environmental health challenges.
Three organizations also offer health-focused sustainability accreditation programs: BREEAM, based in the United Kingdom; the LEED International Program, from the U.S. Green Building Council; and the Green Building Council of Australia.
Embracing sustainability in healthcare is also about making sure the right people from all levels of the organization are at the table. "The people who are spearheading this are healthcare professionals who care passionately about their patients and their community," Vittori says. "They take on sustainability above and beyond their day job because they want to do better."
Below are new ACHE resources, such as books, study courses and websites, to help you excel in your career.
How to Lead, Motivate and Retain Key Talent During Uncertain Times
With more organizations laying off staff, slashing budgets and reorganizing departments in an attempt to cut costs and increase cash flow, many leaders struggle as they attempt to do more with less. But in their quest for increasing productivity and maximizing talent, organizations can lose key employees.
Effective leadership is always the key element to motivating and retaining staff. Help your managers and executive-level employees lead effectively and retain key talent through the following practices.
Set clear expectations
Each employee needs a clear focus, especially during uncertain times. Tell them what you want, what they did right, what you expect of them and how you will measure their progress.
Share the organizational vision and goals so employees understand the big picture. Realize that your team members want to know where the organization is going and how that direction impacts their personal objectives.
When resources get tight, respect within an organization can decline, causing some leaders to show a lack of concern for the needs of their employees. As you ask employees to produce more, stay attuned to their need for work-life balance. Be creative about building in the flexibility.
Make the workday meaningful
Give appropriate praise and recognition
In addition to coaching from management, suggest that team members coach each other. The encouragement, teaching and support increase dramatically when all team members provide it.
This is an excerpt from the article "How to Lead, Motivate, and Retain Key Talent During Uncertain Times," written by Joanne G. Sujansky, PhD, with KEYGroup. Sujansky has been helping leaders to increase productivity and inspire loyalty for more than 25 years. View the full article here.
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