Putting a New Spin on Healthcare Culture

March 7, 2015
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A friend sent a link to the post “7 Cultural Concepts We Don’t Have in the US” over the holidays this year and it was a nice break from my regular reading. The author, Starre Varten, highlights seven cultural concepts originating in other locales around the world, such as “Kaizen” from Japan, which many in healthcare have already adopted with resounding results.

A friend sent a link to the post “7 Cultural Concepts We Don’t Have in the US” over the holidays this year and it was a nice break from my regular reading. The author, Starre Varten, highlights seven cultural concepts originating in other locales around the world, such as “Kaizen” from Japan, which many in healthcare have already adopted with resounding results. I especially liked the Danes practice of “hygge”, or the idea of togetherness, coziness as a mental state versus physical one. She describes “hygge” as being akin to family and friends, gathered around the warm crackle of a fireplace enjoying good food and drink together as the first winter snow falls outside. Denmark is repeatedly rated as one of the happiest countries despite the long, cold winters they endure. Given the extent and brutality of our last two US winters, I would be more than willing to adopt hygge as a core part of my own culture!

Varten also reminds readers:

Culture is ours to do with as we choose, and that means that we can add, subtract, or edit celebrations or holidays as we see fit — because you and me and everyone reading this makes up our culture, and it is defined by us, for us, after all. 

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Culture change is admittedly not an easy or quick event, especially within healthcare. It takes time and commitment, and sometimes a game-altering nudge to the status quo! Changing the narrative and creating a new picture of an ideal healthcare environment is one place to begin–and while it may seem foreign at first, the benefits can very often outweigh any risk. There is a growing group of healthcare change agents embracing the uncertainty of change–certain that by taking the leap to innovate healthcare–patient and provider alike will be the beneficiary. This group is behind USA Change Day (@USAChangeDay), which is built off the pioneering work of the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS launched Change Day in 2013, and Helen Bevan (@helenbevan) has been a lead healthcare change agent in the UK, putting a refreshing and inspiring spin on something that began as a grassroots campaign, started by a small team and which has now taken flight. From the USA Change Day website:

…Its mission was simple—to challenge everybody within the organization to pledge just one thing that they would commit to doing in the next year to improve healthcare. This small initiative turned into a huge success, and now we’ve brought the movement to the United States of America.

You can follow their efforts @USAChangeDay, or better yet, join the cause!

What will you commit to doing in the next year to improve healthcare?

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