Team members wrote one business plan for wellness, and another for telemedicine. In the first nine months, Walker estimates the team saved the healthcare system $3 million for worth that would have otherwise been outsourced.
What has been difficult? Getting team members to report their productivity in the same way as in a consulting agency, "because healthcare people don't do that," Walker said.
The system hasn't abandoned the use of consultants, but it is very choosy on when to use them. For most projects, Walker says, the strategic services team already knows the background information and history of problems that could take a significant amount of time to educate an outside consultant, "which you also pay for," Walker adds.
Walker says she expected the program to succeed, but is "blown away by the results. Not only by the performance, but the level of excitement and happiness they have with their jobs. They are learning faster, and we just did an employee satisfaction survey. On every score, we got 100%. National benchmarks are 70-80%."
Walker makes sure her team acts in another way exactly like consultants. When the project is over, they're gone. "This is one-time work and then you leave it," Walker says. "Don't assume responsibility for how it is run."