Nearly 800 medical campus employees and faculty packed the tent erected on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle last Thursday afternoon, their animated conversation mixing with the DJ’s music as they celebrated the energetic launch of 5 to Thrive, a dynamic new initiative designed to make UHealth – the University of Miami Health System a truly preeminent academic health system for the 21st century.
5 to Thrive is built on five “pillars” — People, Service, Quality, Growth and Operations. Each pillar has a measurable numerical goal, to be met by the end of May 2020, and will be led by a senior leadership “champion,” who will be supported by project managers directing teams of employees in highly focused initiatives designed to meet that goal. Some big differences between 5 to Thrive and past strategic initiatives include employee input and participation, coupled with specific objectives. Feedback and suggestions are not just welcome, they are strongly desired by UHealth senior management.
“We can’t achieve these ambitious goals without our people playing an active role in 5 to Thrive,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UHealth. “This is how we will transform our health care system and be recognized for our superior care, operational efficiency and exceptional patient experience.”
To underscore that theme, the tent was set up with five stations — each representing one pillar — with interactive ways for employees to vote on some of the suggested initiatives, or slip ideas of their own into a suggestion box. Once that exercise was completed, a “passport” they had been handed at the entrance to the tent was stamped at each station. Anyone with five stamps could then proceed to a prize station, spin the wheel and see what they had won. Prizes ranged from UHealth caps and first aid kits to paid time off. The final reward: a gelato station with cold treats to beat the afternoon heat.
This desire for employee input was not lost on the crowd under the tent.
“In my 12 years here, we have never had an event like this,” said Miriam Barros, director of UHealth projects and the project manager for the People pillar. “You can see that it makes our employees feel really involved.”
“I’m glad they are asking employees for input,” agreed Monica Gonzalez, senior patient access representative in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management. “It’s a big boost for morale.”
Annabelle Scott, ARNP, manager of the Education Department at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, called the event “a fun, easy way to get the message out and make you feel like your input is important.”
Many participants enjoyed the opportunity to meet and discuss the pillars with people in other departments.
“Getting us all together in one place is the best thing about this,” said Javier Andrade, an auditor in the Office of Research. “I have met a number of faculty members, and I don’t often get an opportunity to do that.”
“It’s a way of showing UM’s commitment to us — that we are one big team,” added Kristina Maradiaga, a research caseworker in the Department of Medicine.
“Everyone at every level is now involved in charting our future,” said Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., director of the Mailman Center for Child Development. “That’s a huge plus.”
Senior leadership at the event noted the employee enthusiasm and its relationship to the success of 5 to Thrive.
Rick Roche, UHealth’s new associate vice president of human resources, and the champion for the People pillar, said input and collaboration are just the beginning. “We have every intention of transforming the employee experience,” he said. “The success of 5 to Thrive depends on employees who are both inspired and empowered to make system-wide continuous improvements.”
“It is wonderful to see how passionate the people here are for our mission,” said Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., chief clinical officer of UHealth and the champion for the Quality pillar. “The heart and soul of a health system is the care it provides, and the enthusiasm around our common goals of patient safety and providing the highest quality of care is very gratifying.”
“It was important for us to take this out of the executive suite and involve employees from throughout the medical campus,” said William Devoney, associate vice president of finance and a champion of the Operations pillar. “You can’t cut your way to prosperity, and to achieve our goals, we will have to invest in people, processes and equipment. We’re looking for input determining the most critical areas for that investment.”
Gissette Onorato, executive director for the human experience at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, may have summed it up best. “Today’s event shows what can happen when everyone is given an opportunity to think and contribute,” she said. “When we do that, we can see a brighter day in health care.”