Learning Organizations and Hospitals LO21893

Bill Braun (medprac@hlthsys.com)
Fri, 11 Jun 1999 07:48:15 -0500

Replying to LO21887 --

The definition may not sound remarkable for many organizations but it does
represent a huge departure from the norm for a hospital. Hospitals have
historically been very hierarchical social systems. Healthcare
professionals are highly trained in patient care advocacy which is
traditionally a one-on-one type of relationship. Calling on physicians,
nurses etc. to work collaboratively is asking them to rely on skills that
none of them have received in their training.

Healthcare professionals have powerful mental models about role and
function. It is especially difficult for physicians to relinquish their
dominant position "in the pack". Nurses, who have chaffed under the
dominance for years believing they should be regarded on a more team
member basis, don't know what to do with collaboration when it is

Clinical training is focused on very short, often reactive, decision
horizons (which we appreciate as patients). Putting clinical people in a
position of using systems thinking on a peer-to-peer team basis is quite
the departure and teams that do it well have accomplished quite a lot.

Bill Braun

At 09:16 AM 6/10/1999 -0400, you wrote:

>The "definition" sound just like that one would expect of any effective
>team, and might be found in texts, articles and discussions for the past
>15-20 years (actually longer). What is an effective team (organization)
>except a collaborative effort among members to create change (that is, do
>what their purpose is).
>This not raises again a question I have been asking myself quite often
>lately....why exactly do so many of the discussions I see contain "old"
>knowledge as if it were new?
>Perhaps I missed something.
>>I recently completed a Systems Thinking paper on "Creating a Company-Wide
>>Commitment to Service Using Cross-functional Teams." In my research on
>>service cultures, I came across an article on a Texas hospital whose work
>>may be of interest to you. I do not have a copy of the article, but the
>>following is an excerpt from my paper and reference information FYI.
>>What does a Service Culture Look Like?

snip for space
The Health Systems Group
- Physician Leadership Training
- Simulation Modeling for Healthcare


Bill Braun <medprac@hlthsys.com>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <rkarash@karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>