When most health and human service executives think about market disruption, they think about new technology, new treatments, and new competitors. But there is another type of disruption. Not disruption within the market, but disruption to the market—natural disasters, mass acts of violence, acts of terrorism, and other community tragedies. These are events that have an immediate and long-lasting effect on the community and the health and human service system.
So what should executive teams do when faced with disruption to the community? At The 2018 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute, I was struck by how our keynote speaker, Michael Griffin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans (DCSNO), made proverbial “lemonade from lemons” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his session Sustainability In A Competitive Market: The Daughters Of Charity Services Story, Mr. Griffin talked about how his organization recovered and responded to community need—rebuilding in the face of disaster.
So how has Mr. Griffin’s agency changed since Hurricane Katrina? After the hurricane destroyed DCSNO’s only community health center, the agency grew to administer health care at 10 locations citywide, seven community schools, and through two mobile-service buses. The number of consumers served grew from 7,000 in 2012 to 55,000 last year. How did Mr. Griffin and his team accomplish this transformation? He had three pieces of advice—get community buy-in, leverage technology, and be flexible.
Conduct a community needs assessment and get community buy-in—Before DCSNO opens a health center, they make sure the community has buy-in, and discusses the specific needs in the community. They also realized that integration of physical, behavioral, and social services was crucial to meeting the needs of city residents. As a result, DCSNO has developed a medical home model that uses integrated care teams. The entity recently partnered with UnitedHealthcare to establish a one-year pilot program in which community health workers assist the under-served with addressing various social determinants of health.
Adopt technology—After Hurricane Katrina, DCSNO was essentially forced to adopt an electronic health record (EHR) after most of their paper records were destroyed. Now, DCSNO considers the use of technology information critical to how it delivers care. The organization makes extensive use of the health information exchange and disease registries that communicate directly with the consumer to remind them of their preventative care needs. Additionally, the organization is implementing Aunt Bertha, a social determinant of health platform (see Aunt Bertha), for its community health worker program. DCSNO has partnered with over 108 community organizations in an effort to create a closed loop system. Not only will a consumer’s care team be able to refer them to social services, but the team will also be able to see if an individual actually used the service.
Be flexible—Finally, Mr. Griffin emphasized the importance of flexibility. He said: “Flexibility is the key to survival. We have a three-year strategic plan, and we review it every quarter.” Having a strategic plan and keeping that plan current, particularly in times of disruption is sound advice. Mr. Griffin noted that there are things we can’t always control such as policy and legislation; however, organizations can prepare how they will react to the unforeseen (see Strategic Planning – Just As Critical As Ever and A Chaotic Environment Demands Fluid Strategic Planning).
Mr. Griffin’s formula is a good one, no matter the market turbulence—listen to consumers and customers, leverage technology where you can, and be prepared for mid-course corrections. For more on the executive nimbleness in the time of challenges, check out these resources in the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
- Are Health Plans Your New Competition?
- Even ‘Change Management’ Is Changing
- To ‘Win,’ Leadership Must Change
- Invaders At The Gate
- Preparing For An Uncertain Future In Health & Human Services: Be Deliberate
- Building A Nimble Management Team To Respond To Opportunities In A Value-Based Market
- A Chaotic Environment Demands Fluid Strategic Planning
- Is Your Organization Nimble? Take Our Quiz
- Planning For The Digital Reinvention Of Your Market
- Leading Your Strategy Development & Your Team In Uncertain Times
For even more on this topic, join us at The 2018 OPEN MINDS Management Best Practices Institute in Long Beach, California on August 15 for the keynote address, “Integration, The End Of The Carve-Out & The Importance Of Financing – The Health Plan Role In Facilitating “Whole Person” Care” led by Devan J. Cross, President, MHN, A Subsidiary of Centene.