One of the major themes I'm hearing as health care tries to "turn the aircraft carrier" is culture.
"We need a culture of safety."
"We want a culture with more empathy."
"Our culture has made all the difference."
Let's first ask -- why is the prevailing culture of health care in need of such shifts? Well, as the famous quote goes: "The health care systems is not healthy, caring or a system." So as we get more outcomes-based, recognize that empathetic care matters to our patients and our employees, and we get more systematic, with quality improvement and evidence-based medicine, we have to look at the foundations that put us where we are today. That means as an organization and as a nation -- we are all influenced and influencers.
And second, how does one change culture? First, you must recognize what culture you HAVE. I've seen a lot of organizations apply for awards but fail to be able to say what it is that they do differently. In my opinion, if you are just doing what everyone else is doing, you can't win. You have to customize your organization to the people -- that means the customers, the leadership, the employees and all stakeholders. It may also mean adapting to where it is -- the regionalism, the urban or rural setting, the quirks and the customs. (For example, don't schedule your hospital's fun run during the big football game...if you live in the Midwest or Georgia.)