Karen Golden-Biddle Featured in Harvard Business Review

in Emerging Research, Faculty, Faculty in the News, News
October 10th, 2013

Golden-Biddle introduces idea of healthcare “micro-moves”

KGB

The Harvard Business Review featured a blog post from senior associate dean and professor of organizational behavior Karen Golden-Biddle, in which she writes that small changes to healthcare organizations can have a large impact. She calls these small changes “micro-moves” and believes that, contrary to the idea that the solution is “bringing in consultants, undertaking large-scale and highly visible action, and jolting the organization into change,” micro-moves are the key to driving real transformation. Through her research, she finds that less visible actions and interactions avoid derailing the organization by tapping collective energy and building enthusiasm.

Excerpts from the Harvard Business Review:

One such collection of micro-moves is “discovery.”  These actions encourage people to notice their taken-for-granted assumptions regarding how things are done, reconsider them, and create alternatives.  For example, a team of managers and clinical leaders at a medium-size health system, Thedacare, in Appleton Wisconsin, gained invaluable insights about their own care delivery process simply by walking the “care path” with patients.

Early in her tenure, Kathryn Correia, an executive in this health system at the time, brought together managers and clinical leaders to figure out how they might change inpatient care delivery to improve quality and safety.  As they talked they soon realized that they had very little understanding of how patients moved through the system.  Although all participants knew how patients navigated within their own areas of treatment and their units, they had little idea of how patients travelled between admission and discharge, or what patients experienced on the journey. So, the group decided to walk the actual care path themselves, first as if they were patients, and then alongside the patients through real-time care delivery.

In a second session, the group explored how they could best learn about patients’ subjective experience as they navigated the system. They generated open-ended questions to ask patients when they accompanied them that would illuminate their experiences – questions such as, “Would you share with me what being a patient here is like?”  “What was it like just now when (describe situation concretely) happened?” “Could you describe some other experiences you have had here as a patient?” And they decided to leave behind their medical frocks and suit jackets in order to slip out of their “expert” roles. These gestures – leaving their “uniforms” behind, walking the care path, engaging patients with open-ended questions – are examples of micro-moves for discovery.

Read the full blog post here.