Hospital managers must be assertive, expert says

Friday, July 22, 2011
Bill Ward of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore reviews customer service and budgeting during a regional hospital administrators' seminar Thursday at Franklin P. Norman City/County Community Center.

Successfully running a hospital in this complex era boils down to being innovative to develop good information and being assertive without fear of mistakes, area managers were told at a Thursday seminar in Nevada.

William "Bill" Ward, an administrator at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, urged officials to spend 25 percent of their time on accountability and 75 percent on improvement. "Management is about doing stuff," Ward said.

"It's a full contact sport."

Addressing 65 administrators and department managers at Franklin P. Norman City/County Community Center, he quoted a Mideast proverb, "You can't fatten a cow by weighing it," to say they should employ "the three L's" to "look at what's going on, learn the significance of it and leap into action.

"I'm a big believer in management by walking around," said Ward, suggesting visits to the emergency room to see what happens. "Don't wait for formal reports and don't be afraid to make a mistake.

"If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't trying."

The all-day session on customer service and bugeting was attended by officials from Barton County Memorial Hospital in Lamar, Cedar County Memorial Hospital in El Dorado Springs and Nevada Regional Medical Center.

Ward said color coded data reports are effective to boost performance in such departments as linen, pharmacy, bio-medical engineering, supplies, food service, environmental services, transportation and equipment as well as the medical staff. "Physicians are scientists," he said.

"They love data. They will see their own performance. They'll see their peers' and self-police.

The director of the Bloomberg school's master of health administration degree program emphasized the importance of specificity by saying, "Successful managers multi-task, but you've got to focus on a few things.

"We need to see where we have been and where we seem to be heading."

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