April 1, 2011

Organizational Culture: The Cost-Effective Solution for Hospital Success

        The hospital chosen for a patient with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) could be a life or death decision. Mortality rates for AMI patients are not the same in all hospitals, and until recently, the reason why these differences occurred was unknown. A new published in the March issue of Annals of Internal Medicine from the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute addresses the discrepancies between why some heart patients see better results at certain hospitals. Entitled, “What distinguishes top performing hospitals in AMI mortality rates,” lead author GHLI research scientist Leslie Curry and colleagues investigated ‘what works’ inside a hospital to achieve better mortality outcomes for patients with heart attacks.

The study used qualitative data from 11 hospitals by utilizing site visits and interviews with 158 key hospital staff. The study discovered organizational values and goals differentiated high performing hospitals from low performing hospitals, along with senior management involvement, communication and coordination and problem solving and learning.

Elizabeth Bradley, GHLI’s faculty director and senior author on the paper, explains why these findings are important to the medical and health community. “Our research shows that the key facets to safety and quality in hospitals may not be new gadgets. The essential ingredients are not expensive. If we could implement our findings in more hospitals, we could improve quality without adding to costs.” Curry adds, “We found that it is important to pay attention to the relational aspects of work. It was not just what the hospitals were doing but how they were doing it.”

This study helps support GHLI’s ongoing efforts to strengthen health care systems and ensure health equity and quality for all through evidence-based research, as stated in their mission.

To read more about this study, please visit our website at yale.edu/ghli or read about it in the Wall Street Journal Blog.

Amanda Sorrentino, GHLI Intern

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