Collaborating for a "Sustainable" Future

Published On: March 20th, 2012By Categories: Blog

The future demands that we work together to create viable and sustainable programs.  The world is a dynamic and ever-changing place, with an imperative to do more with less.  In order to achieve these outcomes, the charge is there to innovate and collaborate—pooling our resources and strengths, to evolve our communities. 
Recently, in New Orleans, The Green House Project team had two different opportunities to interact with thought leaders who are impacting the future.  First, we participated in  a round table discussion with Strategic Development Partners, where we joined a diverse group from healthcare, education and finance to contemplate the vision for sustainable, livable communities.  Next, during the AHCA-NCAL Independent Owners conference, the focus on quality as an economic imperative, sparked many substantive conversations about the role The Green House Project can play in long term care innovation.
 The concept of sustainable development was a continuing theme throughout the week,  but what does “sustainable” mean in this context?  The United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome Document refers to the “interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars” of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection. By investing in local culture and shifting thinking from “who are you building it for“, to “who are you building it with”, the potential is there to create value and a perpetuating impact for the community.
Through an initiative on quality, AHCA CEO, Mark Parkinson, imparted that to survive in this changing health care environment, providers need to diversify and adapt.  Sustainability is multi-fold, in order to be financially viable, the organization must have a keen focus on quality.  Parkinson said, “Quality is not just the right thing to do, it is an imperative to survive and be reimbursed in the future”.  AHCA is focusing on hospital readmissions, anti-psychotic drugs, staff retention and resident satisfaction as benchmarks to determine quality.    
The time in New Orleans, taught The Green House Project team many lessons about sustainability.  To survive and thrive, there must be a focus on the social, financial and environmental impact of innovation.  Ongoing benchmarking and data collection is necessary to ensure that there is an evidence base for the good work that is being done, and that our resources are being used effectively.  Most importantly, sustainable development requires participative discussion, and inclusion of many different stakeholders.  By bringing those “interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars” to the table, the end product has the power to create that integrated force for success!