Hard Truths and Change

To fulfill our mission and serve our nation, healthcare must change its approach to change.

As an industry, we’ve talked incessantly about evolution, revolution and reimagining how we deliver care in America. While a few dove into the deep end of transformation, most were still testing the water in the wading pool. Until now.

Within the last few weeks, a tidal wave of powerful outside forces – a global pandemic, a cliff-drop recession, the murder of George Floyd – has pushed our industry to an inflection point in which making sweeping, fundamental change in who we are and what we do is a survival skill.

The great changes we were discussing six months ago? Telehealth. Patient experience. Physician engagement. Digital marketing. M&A. These important changes must be done and done well, and we’ll be addressing the latest, best thinking on these matters throughout Art of Change 2.0.

Now change is an imperative. Beyond the pandemic and the recession, we have urgent work to confront. Bigger work that stretches our definition of health to include the health of our nation.

Because our industry has overlooked too many of the people we were supposed to be serving.

Our country knows it must change to be more racially inclusive, equitable and reflective of our increasingly diverse population. And as the largest employer in America – and the one whose very mission is to care for the health and wellness of our communities – our industry has a vital leadership role in vivifying and sustaining the societal evolution demanded today.

No one can do what we can on this matter, and we are called by our mission to action.

What We Know To Be True

Like all great change, it begins with stating clearly what you believe to be true. I’ll tell you what we know and believe at our firm:

  • We know true change cannot happen unless it is inclusive of the diversity of your people, those you serve, and those you should serve.
  • We embrace diversity and abhor racism and are intolerant of racist behavior. Instead, it’s important to celebrate those things that make us individually unique and, together, better. This is what true collaboration means. And it’s where innovation happens.
  • We know we have work to do to be more diverse in who we are and how we work. We should be more racially aware, so we see more opportunities to make healthcare better; we can be more diverse, making our thinking, plans and counsel more inclusive, smarter, better.
  • We believe in the power of communications to spark and nurture real change. We believe in its power to rally, to unite, to divide, to incite, to propel change and to heal. Engagement, dialogue, learning and responding is the potent medicine we need now.
  • Lastly, as with all effective change, we believe good intentions are inadequate. Action is required.

At Jarrard Inc., we are committed to doing our part, using our strengths to do good. We have launched internal teams to diversify our firm and strengthen our collective counsel to clients and our perspective as communicators. You’ll hear from more diverse voices, too, in the Art of Change series and in other elements of our thought leadership.

Through this and our client work, we hope to help you and our industry embrace one of the most important and far-reaching change challenges of our time. Through this, we hope to play our part to make healthcare better.

In all of this, as leaders and communicators, we must change, too. We must be better at it. The margin for error has shrunk and the clock is ticking.

Communications is vital to creating effective change. It cannot happen without it. Setting a vision, sharing what works (and what doesn’t so we can learn), hearing diverse perspectives and voices, thinking and acting holistically, building something new and vibrant on the strength of your historic mission… These are keys to sustainable and meaningful change.

This is the work in front of us. It’s time for change.

About the Author /

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Jarrard Inc. President and CEO David Jarrard has earned a national reputation in helping healthcare systems and health services companies use their public and political strengths to succeed in high-stakes moments. Under his guidance, the firm has become the nation’s leading strategic communications consultancy dedicated to work that spans healthcare clients’ most challenging communications issues.