Article

Guide to Launching a New, Cross-Disciplinary Initiative

Guide to Launching a New, Cross-Disciplinary Initiative
LEADERSHIP

Article highlights:

  • Strong clinical performance is no longer enough for labs to demonstrate adequate value in today’s healthcare environment
  • Labs need to engage with other departments to elevate their offerings
  • Following basic principles can help you launch your own cross-disciplinary initiative and prove your leadership

Too often, laboratories are tucked away in the basement of hospitals. While they may perform well clinically, they keep a low profile and are easily overlooked.

In the past, this may have been acceptable. But in today’s new model, laboratories must extend their reach beyond the walls of the laboratory to be successful—and it’s up to a new breed of lab leaders to make this happen. When done effectively, lab leaders will gain recognition, value, and begin to earn their seats at the decision-making tables within their institutions.

One of the primary ways to emerge as a lab leader is to launch a successful cross-disciplinary initiative. Our roundtable contributors identified the following best practices to help guide you through this important process.

The lab is likened to the golden egg that has been put off to the side and practicing by itself. There are opportunities. We have specialists that are very intelligent. They are very highly trained. But essentially, they are operating in their own silos and we need to integrate those specialists into healthcare.

Mike Evans, RPh

Vice President Enterprise Pharmacy, Chief Pharmacy Officer

Geisinger Health System

One of the primary ways to emerge as a lab leader is to launch a successful cross-disciplinary initiative. Our roundtable contributors identified the following best practices to help guide you through this important process.

Make Yourself Invaluable

 

Every stakeholder at an institution—administrators, physicians, etc.—must see you and your role as absolutely indispensable. One of the best ways to do that is to find a problem that you are in a unique position to solve with your expertise. Start by asking your supervisor or manager how you can make their job easier. Then have similar conversations with other colleagues across the care delivery system. You will soon discover multiple opportunities where you can add value.

How can you maximize value with your cross-disciplinary initiative? Address a problem that affects the bigger picture of healthcare (i.e., patient outcomes and reimbursement) to see results on a higher level.

Be Visible and Build Relationships

 

Often times, great ideas don’t get the widespread impact they deserve because they lack the necessary visibility and relationships. You can prevent this roadblock from happening by reaching out to colleagues in different departments and sharing the vision, objectives, and goals of your initiative. By doing so, you will be building political capital that works on behalf of yourself, your lab, and your initiative.

What we can do better as laboratorians is, instead of waiting for other departments to see opportunity, seek that opportunity ourselves. One of the first things the lab has to do is be visible. You cannot just be doing a great CAP inspection—we have to reach out to other departments too.

Fernando Nascimento, MSLA, MT (ASCP)

System Senior Director Florida Hospital Laboratory

Florida Hospital

It may seem daunting at first, but you will find that other people share your same pain points and want to see change that will result in positive outcomes. They will want to collaborate with you and be a part of your success story. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Remember, if people cannot see your progress in action, they can’t appreciate it. Give yourself, your laboratory, and your initiative the visibility needed to succeed by engaging and building relationships with key stakeholders.

Looking for some initiative ideas? Ask colleagues from different departments or even different institutions about some of their success stories to garner best practices and thought starters.

Jerry Penso, MD

President and CEO

AMGA: Advancing High Performance Health

Set Clear Expectations and Hold Individuals Accountable

 

Clear communication and delineation of roles and responsibilities are critical to success. It is equally important to hold individuals accountable for adhering to the process. As you get started, you can help inspire others by communicating the value this initiative will bring to the departments, administration, and patients.

Jay Jones, PhD,

Director of Chemistry and Regional Lab

Geisinger Health System

Effectively Manage Resistance and Embrace Critics

 

Resistance is inevitable. Here are two ways to best manage it:

1. Conduct a stakeholder analysis. Charles Wilson, vice president of operations at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, likes to call it “voice of the customer” meetings. This is where you proactively get in touch with all the relative departments in the hospital and, in a formal setting, inquire about the issues that are inhibiting individuals from getting on board with the process.

Let your stakeholders know you want to hear their viewpoint. Many times, you will find that these stakeholders really aren’t resistant; they are just concerned and want to know that their concerns are being heard.

2. Communicate cooperative intent. Identify common goals and shared purposes to which both parties are contributing, and communicate them over and over. This simple technique can diffuse negative feelings and foster collaboration. It can also be particularly helpful in shifting historically adversarial relationships to positive, cooperative ones.

Jerry Penso, MD

President and CEO

AMGA: Advancing High Performance Health

Go Ahead and Take the Lead

 

You have everything you need to get started. Now, it’s time to take action. In doing so, you will be well on your way to redefining the value of your laboratory.

Contributing Lab Leaders

Mike Evans, RPh

Vice President Enterprise Pharmacy, Chief Pharmacy Officer

Geisinger Health System

Fernando Nascimento, MSLA, MT (ASCP)

System Senior Director Florida Hospital Laboratory

Florida Hospital

Jerry Penso, MD

President and CEO

AMGA: Advancing High Performance Health

Jay Jones, PhD

Director of Chemistry and Regional Lab

Geisinger Health System

Other LabLeaders Leadership resources  /