In 2012, Let's Trim Our Waistline, Embrace Change and Play to Our Strengths

Jan 4, 2012, 8:00 PM, Posted by Jodi Joyce

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As we head into 2012, the Human Capital Blog asked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff, program directors, scholars and grantees to share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system, and what they think should be the priorities for action in the New Year. This post is by Jodi Joyce, BSN, RN, MBA, CENP, NEA-BC, RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow and vice president, quality and patient safety at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon.

1. TRIM OUR WAISTLINE. Health care needs to become more efficient and more effective—health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP are increasing at an unsustainable pace and now exceed 18 percent. I not only encounter waste every day, but I contribute to it—by tolerating redundancies and processes that don’t add value for our customers, accepting unnecessary variations in practice, failing to improve systems that pose risks for our workforce and our patients.

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2. EMBRACE CHANGE. We have the benefit of so much science about new approaches that are delivering improvements, as well as ample input from customers about how we could better meet their needs. There is a huge opportunity for us to embrace these ideas and innovations, instead of allowing the habits and the gravitational forces of our organizations and our industry to keep us tied to the past.

3. PLAY TO OUR STRENGTHS. As health care professionals, we have been trained to assess, diagnose, advise, console, treat, nurture, restore. We have the skills and the opportunity to serve as healers—not only for the individuals in need of our care, but for our entire United States health care system—at a point in time where healing has never been more needed.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.