Healthcare professionals should develop an innovative mindset, which will help healthcare organizations to be nimble and thriving in a changing political landscape, attendees at the annual Foundation Day, presented by Carle Health, learned.
Innovation and political trends in healthcare were among topics during Foundation Day 2023 at the I Hotel and Illinois Conference Center in Champaign.
About 300 healthcare professionals from throughout central Illinois attended the Nov. 2 continuing education conference, Charlie Hawknuff, MSN, Carle Clinical Education director, said. This year’s theme was “From Challenges to Connection: How Opportunities Become Innovation.”
The annual conference, first presented in 1956, is open to the public and offers healthcare professionals from throughout central Illinois a unique educational experience, Danielle Lawler, MSN, Carle Health continuing education coordinator and Foundation Day lead planner, said. The conference is diverse and inclusive, with presenters, exhibitors and attendees representing the clinical, insurance, research, business and personal sides of healthcare.
“Including different disciplines and geographies makes this conference even more valuable to attendees,” Lawler said. Carle Health is committed to bringing together healthcare professionals to address health challenges with world-class innovation and care.
Innovation helps healthcare professionals be confident and engaged and healthcare organizations to be nimble and thriving.
“We are the solution in this room,” Colleen Kannaday, president, Carle BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, and Carle Eureka Hospital, Eureka, told attendees at the “Innovation Across the System Leader Panel” breakout session.
Carle Health grew as a system, with the integration of the Greater Peoria hospitals, to strengthen and expand our services, bring added specialty care and increase access to lifesaving technologies.
“How do we innovate together?” Kannaday asked. For example, she asked, if patients don’t have access to a specific service in Bloomington-Normal but they do in Peoria, how is that resolved to the betterment of patients?
Before healthcare professionals can innovate together, they should develop an innovative mindset as individuals.
Angelia DeWeese, MSPH, simulation education specialist with Carle BroMenn and Carle Eureka, told attendees at her “I’m not an Innovator: Stop the Debate and Cultivate an Innovative Mindset” breakout session that many healthcare professionals don’t see themselves as innovators.
“Innovation is not described by a role, a title, a building,” DeWeese said. “Innovation is within us. I want you to walk out of here thinking, ‘I am an innovator.’”
In her presentation, DeWeese encourages healthcare professionals to develop an innovative mindset by being creative, open-minded, willing to take risks and focus on finding solutions. An innovative mindset builds satisfaction, pride and confidence and combats boredom and stagnation.
People who move onto the next thing lay their ego aside and help themselves and their organization move forward.
“Don’t be afraid of failure,” DeWeese said. “Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected 27 times.”
Innovation usually comes from people who, doing the same work every day, realize that they could improve it. “True innovation is hard work,” DeWeese said.
“Innovation isn’t always big and bodacious,” she said. Being innovative doesn’t necessarily mean coming up with something entirely new. It can be using existing things in a new way.
Because each person has a unique combination of skills and experiences, each person can be an innovator to help solve organizational and societal challenges.
“We need you to have an innovative mindset,” DeWeese said.
Organizational innovation happens when individual innovators work as a team.
“We have to get better with working together in teams,” Kannaday said during the leader panel breakout session. When healthcare professionals work as teams, patients and health plan members benefit. That’s especially true when a patient’s healthcare transitions from one provider to another.
Kannaday said more direct communication, conversation and relationship-building among team members benefit patient care because they reduce the risk of misinterpretation and allow for clarification and collaboration.
Conversations mean explanations and illustrations. Those stories are important because they help team members, patients and health plan members understand situations and come to conclusions and solutions as much as data, James Leonard, MD, Carle Health president and CEO, said.
To be successful going forward, Carle Health needs to use new technology intelligently in clinical and non-clinical settings, Dennis Hesch, Carle Health executive vice president, chief finance and strategy officer, said.
Keith Knepp, MD, president, Carle Health Greater Peoria, said healthcare professionals need to figure out digital innovation so they can use artificial intelligence technology appropriately in healthcare.
The good news is that Carle is a diverse organization, Dr. Knepp said. He tells people new to the organization “there’s a lot more here than you know about.”
It’s no secret healthcare is a consistently stressful job. Kannaday said she knows some healthcare professional advise their children to not go into healthcare.
“How do we flip the script and create an environment with our whole team to create change to bring the joy back?” Kannaday asked.
There will always be a need for healthcare jobs, she said.
“One thing we all need is healthcare.”
Sinéad Rice Madigan, CEO of Health Alliance, during her keynote presentation, “Political Trends in Health Care: Expect and Accept Change,” said healthcare has become a political football, regulated at all levels of government.
“We in this room have a unique opportunity to continue to shape healthcare policy,” Madigan said. “Maybe we aren’t doing it in the rotunda in Springfield on the third floor, talking to a legislator directly. Maybe we’re not hiring a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. But the outcomes that we bring to our patients – our stories – are important to share with our communities.”
As the political landscape changes, clinicians should continue to provide world-class care. “It’s hard, but I know we’re up for the task,” she said.
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