By Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health
Baptist Health has always embodied one of my favorite philosophies—the power of saying “yes” and seeing what happens. I’ve seen the results of this philosophy in my own life—when you say “yes” and want to be part of something, good things happen.
We’ve seen this philosophy play out in hundreds of ways during our long history. For example, saying yes to possibilities led the hospital into a partnership with the City of North Little Rock to manage Memorial Hospital in the early 1960s, marking our first expansion outside of the downtown campus.
The success of that partnership gave us the confidence to move into other areas of the state, from Arkadelphia in the 1980s to acquiring Sparks Regional Medical Center in 2018. Each of these partnerships and acquisitions allowed us to expand the scope of our mission and bring our expertise into communities around the state.
During the 1990s, saying “yes” led to shifting our focus beyond the acute-care setting and embracing the concept of Total Health as part of our mission. Total Health meant saying “yes” to all kinds of new opportunities, including adding hundreds of points of access and taking care into the communities where people live and work.
Saying “yes” isn’t a random or reckless act, and much consideration goes into every decision to say it. The process begins with listening.
During John Gilbreath’s long career as head of the system, he was famous for “management by walking around.” Gilbreath roamed the halls of the hospital talking to staff at all levels and asking about what was and what wasn’t working. He also listened to their suggestions for ways to improve and expand the hospital’s services.
As the system grew larger, it became more challenging to roam all those halls, but that spirit lived on when the system instituted a program of continuous quality improvement during the 1980s. We rely on staff to speak up when they see things that could work better and to pitch ideas for new things.
We’ve worked hard to create an environment in which staff members feel comfortable speaking up about problems and suggesting new processes, programs, and opportunities without fear of failure. Not every endeavor Baptist Health tried was successful or sustainable, but every one of them moved us toward things that were successful and sustainable.
We want to be risk takers and innovators to see how much we can do to improve the lives of the people we serve. It starts by saying “yes.”
The State of Care blog by Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health, is published once a month at Baptist-Health.com. Learn more about Baptist Health’s 100th anniversary by visiting BaptistHealth100.com.