Q&A: Parkland's Incoming Interim CEO on Problem Solving

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , August 20, 2012

Q. You've commented that you have seen similar problems at other hospitals—not to the same extent—but that the problems at Parkland are solvable. Can you provide examples of similar problems and the steps you took to resolve them?
A. I'd have to go through a lengthy list. It's all about people though. If it's a financial problem you help people understand how what they do has an impact on the overall financial well-being of the facility. When you have quality and safety issues, and they are usually the same thing, you focus on becoming a highly reliable organization.

I'll work to help each individual who works here to understand how they impact the culture of safety, the overall reduction of risk, and the improvement of quality. You solve problems through communication, visibility, and leadership by example. That means making sure the frontline supervisors understand how they impact and sustain the improvement process by leading by example.

Q. The June progress report from Alvarez & Marsal noted ongoing concerns about patient safety and adverse events that continue to happen at the hospital. How can large-scale, systemic issues be resolved?
A. Rather than take isolated incidents and look at them one at a time, it's important to look at trending commonalities. It's really understanding how we can get immediacy of reporting data and metrics to improve that process. Tom was working on this. We need to continue that effort, The organization needs to have a robust reporting process in place so we can address the issues.


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