WIHI: The Leaders Needed for the Changes Health Care Needs

Date: November 4, 2010


  • Marshall Ganz, MPA, PhD, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard University
  • Kate B. Hilton, MTS, JD, Principal in Practice, Leading Change; Leadership Coach, NHS England; Director, Organizing for Health

If you don’t work in the health care system, it’s sometimes hard to understand why, when so much is known about better ways to take care of patients and better ways to deliver quality at lower cost, people don’t just “do it!” What’s so complicated? If one hospital or hospital system has dramatically lowered infection rates, trained its practitioners to work as teams, AND coordinates with outpatient clinics to help people with serious, chronic conditions avoid the emergency department, then why can’t all hospitals do this? What’s the excuse?

Well, there is no “excuse” per se, but the reasons for the uneven and unreliable pace of change are many and complex. So much so that many health care improvement experts believe that the massive challenges facing health care systems in the US and in other countries, such as the UK, now require a new type of focus and mobilization. Where else in society have broad based, necessary changes come about before? How does this happen? Who makes it happen? Enter Marshall Ganz whose organizing in the civil rights movement and with everyone from farm workers to political candidates is legendary. This is the same Marshall Ganz, whose 2009 IHI National Forum keynote had several thousand attendees taking copious notes.

Marshall and Kate Hilton are in the midst of a timely initiative dubbed Organizing for Health. In a nutshell, the two are harnessing some of the best known and proven practices from community organizing and successful social and political movements, to help spawn a new type of health care leader—one who can then mobilize colleagues and staff to create fundamental, organizational change. And we’re not just talking about a better run chart. It’s about new goals, new skills, new ways of working across all health care settings, new partnerships with patients and families, and new teamwork; it’s about meeting new cost and payment expectations, and the needs of an expanding number of patients coming into the US health care system with insurance for the first time.

WIHI host Madge Kaplan welcomes Marshall Ganz and Kate Hilton to share a fresh vision for health care reform that could change business as usual in your organization.


Average Content Rating
(0 user)
Please login to rate or comment on this content.
User Comments