Penn State Health Leadership Conference empowers leaders to help teams contribute

“Our purpose is to advance the future of medicine,” Dr. Craig Hillemeier, dean, CEO and senior vice president for health affairs, told Penn State Health managers. “Whatever job you have, it’s about supporting clinical care and patient access, educating health care providers, extending clinical research and providing community service.”

Approximately 750 Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine senior leaders and managers gathered to learn how they can better guide their teams to help carry out the organization’s mission at the 2019 Leadership Conference: This is Penn State Health on March 21. Two half-day sessions took place at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim.

Executive leaders defined Penn State Health, the challenges it faces and the three broad results that the health system is working to achieve:

  • Improving patient access
  • Enhancing patient and referring physician experience
  • Enhancing the value of the care we provide through consistent quality and safety

Penn State Health will accomplish these goals by providing “The right care at the right place for the right cost,” said Steve Massini, Penn State Health executive vice president and incoming CEO. “Whatever your role, we all can contribute. We should each show passion for what we do and take pride in it.”

2019 Leadership Conference: This is Penn State Health

Both Massini and Hillemeier explained Penn State Health’s 10-20-30 strategy – ensuring that all residents in the region are within 10 miles of a Penn State Health primary care provider, 20 minutes of a specialty care provider and 30 minutes of acute care.

Executives talked about the challenges Penn State Health is confronting, including increased competition for high-end services and reduced referrals as hospitals merge into larger health system networks.

“Who do we want to care for our friends, family and neighbors?” Massini asked attendees. “Do we want people to leave the region for high-end care?”

Penn State Health is addressing those challenges by expanding current facilities, such as Penn State Children’s Hospital, the Emergency Department at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the Cancer Center at Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center and the addition of a hybrid cardiac catheterization lab at St. Joseph Medical Center; building new facilities, such as Lime Spring Outpatient Center and Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center, and always seeking to improve quality and safety issues.

Tanner Corbridge of consulting firm Partners In Leadership led a session on how to build a culture of accountability at Penn State Health. When some individuals face a problem, they go “Below the Line” by playing the Blame Game, ignoring the issue or taking a wait-and-see approach. Instead, they should go “Above the Line” by seeing the problem, owning it, solving it and doing it.

“Make a personal choice to rise above the circumstances,” Corbridge said.

Hillemeier emphasized that amid much change, Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine have a shared destiny. “We are one family and one community.” For example, clinical trials conducted at the College of Medicine are a differentiator for Penn State Health, as scientific discoveries become real-world medical treatments.

“This conference really shows Penn State Health’s commitment to advancing health care in this region,” said Dr. Timothy Weaver of Penn State Health Medical Group – Manor. “It was critical to look at changing the culture.”

The tool that Carey Girvin of Human Resources found most valuable was “The Results Pyramid,” which illustrates that experiences foster beliefs, beliefs influence actions, and actions produce results. “I learned that if you change beliefs, people will self-select the behavior you want.”

Clinical head nurse Tanisha Baker found the steps to accountability helpful. “If our staff sees us playing the Blame Game, they won’t be willing to help with new initiatives,” she said. “We have to stay above the line.”

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