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Lessons learned from listening sessions

Jamie Grebosky, MD, explains how he learned the value of listening sessions.

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Earlier we mentioned that Asante will hold listening sessions as part of AACH’s recent reorganization. These sessions are a valuable way to help leaders gain insight into how an entity functions: the good, the bad, the instructive. They expand upon the same open, two-way communication established at AACH by former CEO Sheila Clough but with a more formal structure.

I’m a proponent of listening sessions because I saw firsthand how effective they were at Asante Physician Partners. Over several months, APP held 35 formal listening sessions, which sought input from providers, nurses, medical assistants and others. Led by Asante Organizational Development, the discussions covered everything from clinic workflows to provider burnout.

The sessions were candid and enlightening. We learned, for example, that leaders and staff worry about the same things: Are we doing right by our patients? Can they get in to see us? Are we supporting our providers? Is the work being distributed smartly? Are staff members empowered to make decisions?

The feedback from frontline staff and others resulted in further “innovation sessions” that focused on how to address the issues that came up in the listening sessions. The listening and subsequent problem-solving brought tangible improvements for APP. We redesigned APP’s PEAK incentive to align with clinic work. We altered how we scheduled appointments. We created a provider mentorship program. We even improved exterior signage based on what employees were hearing from patients.

As a hospital, AACH will have different concerns and different ideas. While Asante strives to have the same high standard of care and patient experience at each of our hospitals, we recognize that every campus has its own challenges and strengths. By gathering feedback from AACH caregivers, providers and staff, we can learn what’s working well (which will be instructive to all of our entities) as well as what we can improve.

Our success in this depends on your involvement. If you have received an invitation for a listening session, please make time to attend. Your opinions, ideas and input can help make this excellent hospital even better.

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