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Exploring the Impact of Employee Culture and its Influence on Patient Experience and Safety – Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast

December 9, 2021

Loyal listeners of our Healthcare Experience Foundation partners’ Healthcare Experience Matters podcast are in for a treat today as we hear from Win Howard, a devoted and passionate healthcare leader. Win is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asante Three Rivers Medical Center.

Situated in Grants Pass, Oregon, Asante Three Rivers Medical Center is a 120-bed facility with about 1200 employees. It is a 5-star CMS hospital.

“I’ve always felt that a strong patient safety culture is a key component to hospital success, or any organizational success,” Win said.

While much of today’s chat with Win explores the impact of employee culture and its influence on both the patient experience and safety, we also chat a lot about the importance of being grateful and sending thanks.

Talking Gratitude

Gratitude is something we have examined recently on Healthcare Experience Matters. As we discussed recently with Katrina Coleman, gratitude is key to so many facets of a happy and successful career in healthcare.

Win offers a unique form of gratitude that goes beyond a quick note or an email to say thanks. Win sends thank you notes to some of the parents of the people he wants to thank.

It’s a unique trademark of his dedicated healthcare leadership style.

Win’s healthcare journey started with a visit to the human resources department of a small hospital in California after high school.

“The h.r. director gave me two hours of his time going over all types of career opportunities,” Win said. “I got into healthcare as an imaging technologist and progressed my way into different management positions.”

Asante Three Rivers Medical Center

Win assumed his current role as CEO in 2009. In the opening minutes of this interview, we discuss the Asante Balanced Scorecard and its impact on the patient experience.

“Our balanced scorecard tells us how well we are able to drive the results of implementing our strategic plan. Every year we update our balanced scorecard, and we look at our results on a monthly basis,” he said.

Communication is Key

Strong communication and striving to better understand the workforce are major themes of Win’s leadership style.

“Our success is going to come down to how well we communicate with each other,” Win said.

As discussed in the podcast, we know there is a strong connection between the wellbeing of staff and the patient experience. This is something Win is very passionate about.

“We need to remember to take care of ourselves. As leaders we can’t take care of our teams, if we can’t take care of ourselves,” he said.

Town Hall Meetings

Wynn was encouraged by a mentor to conduct town hall meetings with his staff, but he was a bit reluctant at first. It was something new to him and he was nervous. Eventually though, the town hall meetings improved dramatically, and they became an important forum.

“We will continue to do town hall meetings, they make a difference,” Win told us.

Win started playing sound clips from patient surveys at town hall gatherings. It became a powerful way to learn about the patient care successes and shortcomings to make improvements moving forward.

In this time of COVID-19, the town hall meetings have gone virtual. During the pandemic, it’s never been more important to focus on the wellbeing of hospital staff.

“We can’t underestimate the impact that these last couple of years have had on our workforce,” Win said.

Learn More

Please feel free to listen to this interview via the embedded podcast player below:

To learn more about Asante Three Rivers Medical Center, visit their official website and download our case study about our partnership with the organization.