In every healthcare organization, L&D leaders play a key role in facilitating the right care and services for patients. They’re there to make sure learners across the organization have the tools and resources they need–and they also motivate people to do their best work.
But how can L&D leaders in the healthcare industry help deliver the value-based care patients need today? How can they support this care with the right people performance strategy?
In this first edition of our healthcare L&D series, I spoke with Christopher Lind, VP and Chief Learning Officer at ChenMed, about his three-step approach to elevating people performance and driving organizational transformation through great L&D.
Christopher had a great deal of expertise to share–read on to discover more.
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Christopher began our conversation by explaining the challenges ChenMed is overcoming in the healthcare sector as a value-based care provider.
“ChenMed is a primary care company,” he says, “but we are focused on value-based care, which is very different from the normal US fee-for-service model. Value-based care is about getting in front of issues before they happen, and preventing the need to bill for services further down the line.”
“Already, we’re going through a transformation and trying to change the ways we offer healthcare,” he says. “How do you deal with the skills, the gaps, and the organizational transformation that happens with that?”
But this isn’t the only challenge ChenMed is facing right now. “COVID-19 is changing the way we provide healthcare to people,” says Christopher. “The whole idea of physically going to see your doctor isn’t realistic for a lot of people. People would prefer to do this digitally as much as possible.”
So, what role does Christopher have in enabling ChenMed’s transformation towards virtual consultations? Read on to discover the people performance strategy supporting this shift.
Need a few more CLO Connect expert insights? Find out How to Become the L&D Leader You’ve Always Wanted to Be.
Value-based care is about getting in front of issues before they happen, and preventing the need to bill for services further down the line.
As Christopher explained, the L&D team had a key role to play in driving ChenMed’s organizational shift. Specifically, they needed to support this shift with the right people performance strategy.
“So, it’s a bit of a journey that we’re on,” says Christopher. “Sometimes ‘learning’ is the bucket we get put in, but I've tried to focus the team more on people performance. How do we focus on behaviors and things that drive better performance across the organization? That’s the lens that I bring to those business conversations on the challenges the company is wrestling with.”
For Christopher, it all starts with identifying the behaviors you’re trying to change.
Sometimes ‘learning’ is the bucket we get put in, but I've tried to focus the team more on people performance. How do we focus on behaviors and things that drive better performance across the organization?
First, Christopher works with his team to examine how people can help address the challenges facing ChedMed. This helps to identify the kind of behaviors they can tweak, change or add to help them achieve the desired outcomes at the organizational level.
“It’s a very behavior-based discussion,” says Christopher, “because conversations are often just focused on the metrics or the financial numbers we’re trying to get to. For me, the role we play is coming in and asking: okay, what are people doing now? And what should they be doing in order to drive the metrics we want to see?”
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Next up, Christopher explains that it’s important to link back from specific metrics to an increase in the performance of specific teams and individuals.
“I can give a recent example,” he says. “In value-based care, one of the goals is to not end up in the hospital. That’s a metric that is constantly being looked at–how many people are being admitted to hospital?”
“As the learning leader, the role I played was to start asking: What are the things that contribute to this value-based care? What do we know? Do we know the behaviors that support that? And we found that in the relationship between our patients and their primary care provider, trust is a huge indicator of whether they’re going to end up in the hospital or not.”
Finally, Christopher says that once you understand the shift in metrics and how teams and individuals contribute to that, you can work towards developing a people performance approach that works.
“We were able to unpack that relationship of trust between provider and patient. That’s something I can help support, because to me, building trust is a behavior. That led to a discussion around the approaches we know work really well, or some of the inhibitors of trust that we have. And again, there’s lots of skepticism about this different way of doing healthcare.”
“With the shift to virtual appointments, it came out that some people don’t fully understand how to build trust when the person’s not in the room. Well, that’s a skill people can learn, and it’s a behavior that we can impact.”
As Christopher explains, this is the kind of conversational flow you’ll often hear him having in this approach. “These discussions lead us to go: okay, so it sounds to me like we need to figure out how we want to help people understand that building trust is key and drives their business metrics. But how do we then help them understand and learn and build trust differently using the tech and the way we do things now?”
ChenMed’s three-step approach demonstrates many of the advantages of Collaborative Learning in practice. By encouraging teams to work together and develop behaviors such as virtual or remote patient care, ChenMed can use collective expertise to deliver the transformational change needed to provide value-based care to patients.
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With the shift to virtual appointments, it came out that some people don’t fully understand how to build trust when the person’s not in the room. Well, that’s a skill people can learn, and it’s a behavior that we can impact.
That’s an overview of ChenMed’s three-stepped approach, but how does Christopher know that they can positively influence employee performance?
“By having these discussions, we’re unpacking the specific behaviors we want to encourage, examining what those behaviors are tied to, and then tracking the impact those behaviors have on the organization. For example, hospital admission: that’s a business metric that we’ve now linked back to a behavior that we can change as learning and development.”
“I look at what we’re doing for our new hire experience and being able to say how long it took for somebody to be effective in the role. How are we measuring and defining what ‘effective’ means? And how are we identifying the specific behaviors tied to that?”
For Christopher, this approach makes it easier to identify the particular problem his team has set out to solve, show how they’re measuring their success, and establish whether they’ve accomplished their goal.
“We’ve had some things that didn’t go the way we thought,” he says, “and we’ve had to go back and say: well, we had the wrong thing, so let’s pivot and try something different.”
However, Christopher explains that this approach has made a big impact for people across ChenMed. “Everyone appreciates that perspective of us helping them translate the behaviors we’re talking about into a people challenge, and finding ways to solve these challenges.”
“That’s a value-add to the organization, and it’s far more helpful than just coming in, asking what people are doing, and creating some ‘knowledge’ we can toss at people.”
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Everyone appreciates that perspective of us helping them translate the behaviors we’re talking about into a people challenge, and finding ways to solve these challenges.
Thanks to Christopher for sharing his time and insights with us! We’ll be featuring more healthcare L&D interviews in the coming weeks, so don’t miss out.
If you’re looking for more expert insights on driving organizational change with L&D, take a look at our interviews with Johnathan Saller of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution about his 4-Step Mentor Circle program, and with Maitri Malia of Johnson Controls on driving digital transformation with peer learning.
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