What are the best ways to motivate hospital IT employees? To inspire their best work?

We can learn a lot from the employees themselves. More than 5,500 of them responded to a recent survey from Healthcare IT News. The publication used the responses to determine which hospitals earned a spot on the “Best Hospital IT Departments” list.

We’re proud that 20 out of the 25 “Best Hospital IT Departments” use one or more Allscripts products.

Survey respondents are clear about what they want from their teams. Profiles of the winners share great examples of best practices:

1. Connect with patients.

At Henry Ford Health System, clinical teams invite IT to help explain new technology during patient encounters. It’s a valuable experience for clinical and IT teams, and keeps the focus on the needs of patients.

2. Broaden skill sets.

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital’s IT director, Adem Arslani said, “If some folks are getting a little tired of what they are doing, I see what I can do to make it more interesting…We do a lot of cross-training.”

3.     Foster a caring culture.

Blessing Hospital prioritizes mutual respect, which serves as a sturdy foundation for patient care. (See a recent video about how Blessing Hospital improved its financial performance.)

4. Have fun.

From a Gumbo Cook-off at Ochsner Health System to costume contests at Mercy Medical Center to the “Fun Committee” at Meridan Health – IT teams that play together, stay together.

5. Connect to the cause.

At Trinitas Regional Medical Center (an Allscripts Managed IT Services client), CIO Judy Comitto said her team’s intense loyalty and focus on the mission has earned the respect of some of the hospital’s toughest customers: doctors. The IT staffers at Cancer Treatment Centers of America are not employees; they are stakeholders in the battle against cancer.

6. Communicate openly.

Jim Murry, CIO at UC Irvine Health, has an open-door policy and frequent ”skip-level” meetings to hear from all levels of the organization. Teams at JPS Health Network have team huddles every morning to share news.

7. Enable work-life balance.

When big projects come up, sometimes IT employees have to spend long hours at work. The VP of IT at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center recognizes the importance of balance, giving employees, “…flexibility to make their child’s school play or even just head to the beach.”

8. Put teamwork first.

Washington Regional Medical Center plays as a team to make it to the “quality care end zone.” Union Hospital also enjoys a reputation of working well with clinical departments. As leader of the IT team at Self Regional Healthcare, Andy Hartung was proud to observe, “I don’t know that I have any individual that strikes out on their own for their own success as much as the success of the department and of the hospital.”

9. Encourage innovation.

For inspiration, look to the Wild Idea Team at Lehigh Valley Health Network. This interdepartmental group looks for ways to improve patient care. For example, the LVHN Burn Center regularly uses a virtual “Snow World” that places patients in “cold” environments and reduces the need for painkillers. Being open to new cabling approaches during a data center construction project saved a lot of money and time at Roper St. Francis.

10. Follow through on organizational commitments.

Bernie Clement, CIO at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center said of his organization’s culture, “They have the discipline to plan and stick to their plan, and they stress accountability within their leadership ranks.”

11. Recognize a job well done.

Ann Lara, CIO at Union Hospital of Cecil County, makes a point of spending time with her team. “It’s important to recognize – and give credit for – all the good that they’re doing,” she said. Bonuses and congratulatory emails are part of the program at Saint Francis Medical Center.

Do you have tips to add to this list? Share them in the comments below.

Congratulations to all the award winners. See the full list and read more on the Healthcare IT News website.

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About the author

Russ Cobb leads the Marketing and Communications organization at Allscripts. In this role he is responsible for strategic development and oversight of the Allscripts brand, unique product value propositions, positioning tactics and awareness for Allscripts’ portfolio of software solutions spanning the Physician Practice, Hospital and Health Systems and Post Acute Care markets.

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