Leadership in Health Borrows Insights from Aviation

Jim Rice

Former LMG Project Director

In Lagos, Nigeria health sector managers are on a journey to strengthen their health systems performance by embracing continuous process improvement. They are doing this by a willingness utilize five key strategies:

1. Acknowledge that quality is job one of service providers mandate and legacy;
2. Quality is not a destination, but a continuous journey;
3. The journey needs bold and clear targets or standards of excellent clinical quality outcomes and of patient satisfaction;
4. The journey needs a willingness from leaders to create a culture that is passionate about excellence, risk taking, transparent and accountable; and
5. The participants in the journey must be open to consider fresh ideas about delivering the service from other high risk industries like nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers and commercial aviation.

Sensible ideas to do process improvement came from Steve Powell, of Healthcare Training Teams, who has worked for health system improvement for ten years was well received at the September CEO Leadership Workshop. This three day program at the 9th West African Conference co-sponsored by MSH's Leadership, Management and Governance Project with the ANADACH Group stimulated conversations about stronger health systems and greater health outcomes.

Steve Poweel at WAHLC

Mr. Powell encourages Nigerian public and private hospital CEOs to consider these actions:

1. Invest to establish evidence based performance standards and practical checklists of what to do in all procedures that contain risk to patients;
2. Invest in rigorous training and education on process improvement and problem solving techniques and mind sets; and
3. Develop cultures and leadership styles that expect, enable and incentivize continuous process improvement.

Please visit the website www.healthcareteamtraining.com for more information.