October 21, 2005

Elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: Why do we believe that this initiative will be successful when so many other initiatives have failed?

Answer: What is surprising is that Vanderbilt has launched few broad initiatives that have not been remarkably successful. The “Hearts and Minds” culture change, building the original credo, our work in improving staff satisfaction, the massive operations improvement program and our marketing campaigns have all been so successful that they have been noted in national health care forums. Vanderbilt is an exceptional environment precisely because people are willing to believe the possible and act on it.

Our last effort at improving customer satisfaction — we called it “the Customer” for those of you who don't remember — was a flop. It failed, in part at least, because we never backed the effort with the necessary resources and we failed to include everyone who needed to be involved. We will not make the same mistake with elevate.

Change is never easy especially when so many things are going so well. But moving from good to great can only happen if we are able to convince most everyone in the institution that change will ultimately make their work more effective and more fulfilling. It is at the heart of our hope.

— Harry R. Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs