An Important History Lesson for a Healthcare Innovator
Okay, I have to admit I am a history nerd. Back in the day, as a Poly Sci/History major at Mizzou I took a course that many would view today as irrelevant. It was a course simply entitled: “Gandhi”. Little did I know that the seemingly superfluous liberal arts course would teach me an important lesson on maintaining corporate culture in a time of unbridled change.
My favorite Gandhi quote: “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
That quote rings especially true for the healthcare innovators today who are pioneering a new model of care based on rich and passionate legacies of faith and service. Health system mergers and acquisitions, combined with a digital culture that tends to forget the previous generations that enabled it, has made it more imperative than ever to celebrate and document the past.
Surge had a remarkable opportunity to do this for one of the most innovative health systems in Oklahoma, INTEGRIS Health, transforming their flagship hospital’s heritage room into an interactive and visual display of community service and breakthrough innovation. During our engagement we truly discovered how a small body of determined spirits transformed communities with their inspiration and sacrifice.
INTEGRIS Health has prided itself on offering The Most Challenging Healing™ for generations of Oklahomans, especially at its flagship hospital, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. The state’s largest not-for-profit and Oklahoma-owned health care system had just implemented significant renovations on the Baptist campus to reflect its new brand direction. However, the Heritage Room at the hospital was an outlier. Originally intended to be a focal point for co-workers and patients to reflect on the hospital’s legacy of innovation, the room was dark, not reflective of the new brand and lacked a full history of the hospital after it became a part of the INTEGRIS Health system. Furthermore, the technology was out of date. The Baptist legacy needed an extreme makeover.
We responded with a comprehensive approach that reflected the organization’s history as an integral component of culture and brand. Health systems have been through massive changes in the last several years, and that makes the past more relevant than ever. Our approach was to view INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center history as something that could help instill a sense of identity and purpose, showcasing eternal values during the organization’s rapid transformation towards a new model of care.
We started with the Discovery process that included interviews with leadership, resident historians and co-workers who had witnessed the most important milestones. The discovery process revealed key themes, messages and stories that needed to resonate in the room. We then developed a comprehensive Brand Experience Brief that recommended an open room concept, removing the doors that were a barrier to patient participation, and centering the experience on the “time capsule” in the center of the room. The centerpiece contained a complete interactive history of the hospital on three iPad stations, illuminated by a replica of the campus. We crafted a careful balance of Baptist history before INTEGRIS, and the role that the larger system played in magnifying Baptist’s legacy of innovation. Once the concepts and architectural designs were approved, we fabricated and installed the components of the room within three weeks.
Qualitatively, the rebirth of the INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center Heritage Room was an overwhelming success. Executives, co-workers and patients gave major kudos to the new space, that now more accurately conveys the innovative legacy of both the hospital and the health system. Quantitatively, the traffic to the Heritage Room increased significantly since the room was opened and has been used extensively to orient new co-workers about the history they are now becoming a part of. Surge put in place a long-term strategy to create a Curator team, documenting and updating the room with the living history, capturing milestones that were once lost.
The pace of change makes history an important tool in unifying corporate cultures and establishing a collective knowledge of where we came from. It’s a history lesson we can all appreciate.