The Medical Fitness Imperative – Post 5

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Post 5 - Development - Gaining Organizational Support

AN IN-DEPTH SERIES ABOUT THE HOWS AND WHYS OF

MEDICALLY-BASED FITNESS AND WELLNESS

- Hervey Lavoie, F-MFA

 

Building support in a large healthcare organization for the idea that 70% of serious illness can be prevented, that maintaining community health is an essential component of a hospital's core mission and that programs and facilities dedicated to these principles can be financially sustainable is a matter of education and persistence.

Identify stakeholders:  The first step in building broad organizational consensus is for a core group of believers and forward thinkers to identify leaders of all stakeholder groups within the organization and start a one-on-one campaign of education and motivation.  Each stakeholder group must be approached with an understanding of their "turf" sensitives and the ways in which their outcomes can be improved and their revenues protected in a new world of integration between clinical practice and healthy lifestyle programming.  

WAYS TO BUILD CONSENSUS 

  • Active listening
  • Transparent communications
  • Creating value for mutual gain
  • Seeking expert advice when needed
  • Brainstorm while withholding criticism 
  • Eliminate individual credit-taking
  • Seek unanimity but settle for majority support
  • Listen for and address legitimate concerns
  • Keep ongoing tally of discussion topics, agreements/ disagreements and results
  • Provide a written report to all stakeholders of any and all exercises completed 

An ongoing process: Keep in mind that this type of consensus building will need to continue throughout the entire development process.  Intra-organizational communication is key to maintaining support and building enthusiasm for collective success on opening day.  

DEFINING SUCCESS

Saint Francis Medical Center, Cape Girardeau, Missouri was truly committed to staff involvement in the creation of their 45,000 SF Medical Fitness Center.  Architects were asked to account for the detailed operational wisdom of clinical caregivers and fitness professionals in the programming and design of this building.  These consensus builders were tasked with optimizing both the out-patient experience and the fitness member experience.  Participants included department heads and staff clinicians for physical therapy, cardiac rehab, pulmonary rehab, diabetes, arthritis, biometrics, sports performance, health education, physician coordinators, and exercise physiologists.  The design outcome reflected this valuable source of application know- how and all participants are whole heartedly invested in the success of the facility, now known as Fitness-Plus.    

An ongoing process: Keep in mind that this type of consensus-building will need to continue throughout the entire development process. Intra-organizational communication is key to maintaining support and building enthusiasm for collective success on opening day.

WHAT TO AVOID

  • Excessive focus on details – This is about the big picture. The details will come later.
  • Over-reliance on hard data and scientific method research – These are in short supply. Much of the case for fitness/wellness initiatives is based on emerging outcome data…. The real story is not about numbers, it’s about changing lives for the better.
  • Horror story comparables – Yes, there are failures out there, but there are reasons for those failures that need to be understood and not repeated.
  • Going it alone – There are resources to tap into, such as the Medical Fitness Association, American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise and the International Council on Active Aging.
  • Fixating on size – Avoid issues of too big or too little. The right-sizing of the facilities will come later in the process.

Up next time...Post 6 - Risk Management.