Stories of Change

Patient care at a large state level healthcare system

Where?  State wide healthcare program in India

Why ?

As part of a state government initiative, a key objective of healthcare reform was enhancing the level of patient sensitivity across the system.

How ?

A district not far from the state capital was selected for the pilot. A team of OD consultants began the process by interviewing staff of several district hospitals to understand how they worked as organizations, and what came in the way of better patient sensitivity.

One thing soon became clear, district hospitals did not function as unified organizations. Doctors, nurses and class IV employees formed three different teams with intense in-group loyalties. Yet patient sensitivity was a joint problem to solve, and required these three groups to come together.

The first step was leader preparedness. The lead administrator of the hospital had to buy into the direction for change and help his team come together to develop a vision for change within their own hospital.

To be able to implement a vision for change however required grassroots participation from every hospital employee. Through workshops designed for different teams, ideas and suggestions were collected, and commitment to the larger cause of patient sensitivity was built. One by product of this process was that it built engagement levels among all employees.

This was followed by discussion sessions with participation from doctors, nurses and class IV staff so that hospital level initiatives could be agreed on. Several of these in fact involved a smoother transition of responsibilities between the three teams. A few other obstacles were in fact physical—e.g. the location and shape of the ramp etc. for patients etc.

With the commitment of the district administration and the hospital administrator these changes were introduced. In just a few months after the changes, the hospital received recognition for improved patient sensitivity and the state selected the process for state-wide replication.