Advancements in the field of healthcare have given birth to a variety of novel concepts and ideas, and a majority of them have only improved healthcare and its delivery. Evidence-based leadership is a similar novel concept that has gained a lot of momentum in recent times. As the name suggests, the purpose of such a leadership approach is to use evidence-based information extracted from scholarly evidence, scientific research, and experimentation and incorporate it into practice.
Specifically in healthcare, evidence-based leadership is a method fashioned after the philosophy of evidence-based medicine, with the goal of embedding the behaviors that have been proved via evidence to have the most significant influence on patient outcomes.
The importance of evidence-based leadership in healthcare
There are two main reasons why evidence-based leadership has become an essential part of various healthcare organizations, including hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical factories, etc. Firstly, when people in an organization learn and implement evidence-based strategies, they are less likely to make mistakes and face unexpected consequences. As a result, the chances of making human errors become very slim, and this is extremely important in the healthcare industry. A seemingly small mistake on the part of healthcare professionals can jeopardize human life, cause financial losses, and tarnish the organization’s name. Additionally, this approach also helps reduce the rate of mistakes in judgment, due to which there is a reduced risk of personal biases, irrational decisions and exhaustion.
Secondly, an evidence-based leadership approach instills a culture of accountability. This is also very important because when a healthcare institution holds itself and its staff accountable, it gets the opportunity to learn from its failures and constantly improve its services. A culture of responsibility in healthcare promotes physician and patient trust, eliminates resource waste, and enables organizations to offer higher-quality treatment.
The application of evidence-based leadership in healthcare
This leadership approach is employed by leaders in various departments of the healthcare industry, including doctors, nurse managers, hospital managers, and other staff members with managerial roles. Evidence-based leadership can be applied to the communication between the patient and the staff members when checking vitals, adjusting medication dosages, and addressing any questions or requests of the patients.
Similarly, it can also be used when implementing novel treatment strategies for specific illnesses, designing and testing a new drug, increasing patient satisfaction and experience, and managing the patient and staff flow in the ER. In short, evidence-based leadership has countless applications in the field of healthcare.
How to become an evidence-based leader in healthcare
In order to become a healthcare provider who is able to follow and implement evidence-based leadership, it is important to have the right set of skills and education. Many degree courses teach aspiring healthcare professionals about this approach during their bachelor’s degree. However, the techniques can be learned to the fullest through a master’s-level course that is dedicated to teaching leadership in healthcare and related concepts.
The University of Indianapolis also offers an MSN program in leadership in which students will learn everything they need to know to become skilled evidence-based leaders. Such a distance-learning opportunity enables practicing nurses to continue their education from the comfort of their homes. As the course is taught entirely online, students have greater flexibility in planning their lessons.
What makes evidence-based leadership effective?
Whenever a novel behavior is ‘hardwired’ – which means that it has become habitual, and failure to execute the action is no longer allowed – people will continue to do it effortlessly even if the organization shifts its focus. An evidence-based approach strengthens cultural and organizational improvements by infusing and explaining the rationale behind the change adopted. Healthcare practitioners gain more faith in leadership, which motivates them to focus on trying and mastering new behaviors.
As patient care delivery becomes increasingly complicated, it is vital for the management and doctors of a healthcare institution to be on the same page regarding objectives and techniques that support the institution’s mission. Evidence-based leadership provides the framework for achieving and maintaining coherence, as well as raising professional responsibility, all to the advantage of patients.
Evidence-based leadership in healthcare is a unique leadership approach that enables healthcare practitioners to think differently by helping them identify the problems in an organization and figure out ‘why’ a change in practice is needed. The solutions are always based on scientific evidence, due to which the chances of making mistakes are reduced, and accountability is improved. As a result, the healthcare organization is able to thrive and provide the highest quality of care to its patients.