Which Is More Important In Your Healthcare Business – People or Processes?

Hamza Asumah, MD

Every company’s traditional goal is to maximize profit and improve investor return. This has been the central concept of many entrepreneurs and, by implication, their businesses. This is true not only for healthcare organizations, but also for all enterprises in general. As a result, entrepreneurs and their teams feel compelled to adopt any plan that will propel the firm toward increased profitability; this is why layoffs and burnouts are so common in today’s business landscape.

This dynamic is amplified in the healthcare industry since most decisions and business survival are intimately tied to improving people’s lives, and their experiences are important to their return when they encounter a challenge. The objective of your healthcare firm should always be to give clients an experience that far exceeds their expectations. This is why processes to improve efficiency and client pleasure have received so much attention.

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In my experience in the private healthcare business, I have witnessed and been a part of management teams that would chastise a staff the instant a patient complaint is received. Even as a doctor who has some interaction with patients, my contact time with these patients was nothing near that of other personnel. I didn’t know at the time that my emphasis on clients had resulted in a complete lack of psychological safety at work, as staff were extremely cautious not to be reported. The process was improved, at least temporarily, but it was only a matter of time until I understood it was not sustainable.

In my journey to become a better leader, I uncovered a new fact that has become the most sustaining ingredient in a business’s development and sustainability, particularly in healthcare organizations where human relationships are critical to success. This is the element PEOPLE.  

According to USC Marshall, Psychological safety is recognized as a key differentiator in successful team performance and a foundational component for openness, creativity and risk-taking.

As a founder of a hospital business for instance, you realize that you can literally touch every patient and every bed at the beginning of your business because your business and client base is all within your grasp and control. You are able to impact lives directly. Unfortunately, as the business grows and the number of beds and patients increase exponentially, it becomes impossible for you to have the same level of direct control over these stakeholders

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It is therefore imperative to identify the relevance and role of those who are put in the position to touch these lives directly. It is worth noting that every life that is touched by these employees is an extension of what you would have done. This is why clients get upset with you as a founder when they receive a service that is way below expectation.

This is a strong sign that, as a founder, you must identify the individuals who are directly under your control, and they will influence the people who are directly under their control, and so on. Employees will be able to perceive and understand the value you are attempting to convey to the client in this manner. There is a need to develop a people-centered efficient system that can be duplicated at various organizational levels.

Given how much time I spend with patients and how much time other staff, particularly nurses, spend, I realized that I had been focusing on the incorrect thing. As a leader, you are accountable to those who are accountable to consumers. Employees will shed blood and tears for you if they feel secure and protected by their leaders.

Communication increases as you become aware of problems before they develop, and you have a team that will shed blood and tears for you. You have a team that will go to any extent to secure your success. This is the point at which you realize that the same patient you were shielding with those nags is having the greatest of experiences and has no cause to complain as frequently.

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If you delve thoroughly into your doctorpreneurship route, you will discover that it is a long one that necessitates the confidence of people who know you will shed blood and tears for them. I know it seems like a fiction, but it is the only way to reach the fantasy world you envisioned when you started your company journey.

According to Scott Gellman, People, processes, and systems all have a direct impact on a company’s future success or failure. Many firms have managers and leaders that focus on one area, but all three must work together in order for a company to grow into a genuinely successful and inspired enterprise.

So, instead of considering processes – systems – efficiency, examine people – systems – process. This is my best bet for you to make a tremendous success in the healthcare profession. It is time to properly link value, profits, and people in order to redesign your healthcare firm.

This is a very dynamic area that is backed by so many different experiences and your thoughts on this subject will be very informative. Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

2 responses to “Which Is More Important In Your Healthcare Business – People or Processes?”

  1. Absolutely Hamza,

    The most sustaining ingredient in just about any business for sustainability is the element of people. At the end of the day, it is about maximizing profit and improving the return for the investor and this should never be taken for granted. Especially, in the healthcare field.

    I also enjoyed you sharing your experience with the topic throughout the Blog. Great Read!


    • You are very right Brandon. Once we learn to redefine these priorities, return for investors will most likely improve as you will have a lot of commitment and dedication from employees


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