"Most health systems just throw their hands up," he said. "They basically do the victim thing––it is being done to them––instead of driving the message and being in control of it.
Not that it's easy.
There are challenges, Decker acknowledges, and the wins are coming slowly. Some problems are stubborn, such as the high use of the emergency department by the hospitals' own employees.
'Good Leaders Simplify'
Health systems that want to try the Mercy Health approach should start by identifying ten items that are important to the organization, and which can be measured. It won't be easy, Decker warned, and it won't be fast.
The alternative? "If everything is important, nothing is important,"
The next step is to hire a data visualization expert to come up with simple, easy-to-understand graphics that will best communicate performance measure to staff.
Finally, keep simplicity in sight. Always.
"Healthcare is complicated everywhere," Decker said. "Good leaders simplify."
Tinker Ready is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.