Ideas that used to take up to eight months for Mayo Clinic to vet are now ready to execute in less than two weeks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a push to streamline decision-making at Mayo, a move that will permanently shape its governance model. Healthcare organizations across the country are making similar adjustments as they aim to improve long-standing and potentially obsolete oversight policies.
“Are we going to consistently get to the execution stage in 12 days? Maybe not, but now we have the mechanisms to track how long the process is taking and identify the barriers to moving more quickly,” said Roshanak Didehban, Mayo’s chair of practice administration. “I don’t think we can under-recognize the gravitational pull back to the way we used to be. But now we have a systemic approach to get work done quicker.”
Some hospital systems have restructured to be more responsive and flexible, mirroring other U.S. industries. Yet, that change has been slower or nonexistent in certain healthcare institutions given the concern that the heavily regulated industry requires a more deliberate and methodical approach.
Typically, ideas need to go through a myriad of finance, legal, quality and information technology committees that only meet monthly, dragging out the process. But the pandemic has shown many systems that efficient decision-making doesn’t always mean sacrificing quality and safety.
“If you have an organizational structure that likes to vet and evaluate practically every position even when it’s not needed, that’s often what took place. People didn’t have that luxury during the pandemic,” said Greg Eli, shareholder at consultancy LBMC.
“There’s been a realization among not-for-profit, for-profit and investor-owned systems that you don’t need the same level of formality or as much involvement to make decisions effectively. I think we’ll see the pendulum swinging back somewhat, but it won’t swing back to where it was pre-pandemic.”