Last December, MODERN HEALTHCARE described the gloomy disposition of hospital employees as documented in a survey by Deloitte & Touche (Dec. 11, 1995, p. 52).
Recognizing that, some hospital executives may decide to take steps to boost the mood of their forlorn staffs. At least that's the case at Medical City Dallas Hospital, which last month pulled the plug on what was causing the most angst: patient-care redesign.
In a letter to employees obtained by MODERN HEALTHCARE, the hospital's president and chief executive officer, Michael Pugh, said he was dropping the "Care Redesign" project because "we need to decrease fear and improve employee morale."
In an interview last week, Pugh said the care redesign effort had good intentions, but that difficulties came in how it was handled.
Pugh came on board as CEO last July. He said the redesign effort was started about 18 months ago but was put on hold through the summer so the hospital could prepare for its survey in September by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Employees at the 491-bed hospital, one of Dallas' biggest, already were nervous about the redesign, but the real shake-up came when the Joint Commission survey was completed. That's when the Care Redesign project went back into action, and employees were sent memos asking about work preferences. "Employees read that as they needed to reapply for their jobs," Pugh said.
He said hospital managers had hoped the process would reduce the number of job descriptions from 260 to a "dozen or so."
Now, that effort is on hold, although "redesigning patient care" will continue. Instead of a wholesale approach to redesign, hospital managers will work on clinical pathways for specific treatments or diseases. In addition, the process will be more physician-driven, he said.
"We'll continue to reduce costs," Pugh pledged.
However, when asked about the cost of the defunct redesign effort, Pugh said he didn't know the answer to that question. "It's not one I want to go research," he added.