IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 8

Flu Activity Increasing Nationwide
HHS Releases Healthcare Cybersecurity Publication
Share Your Quality Efforts with Legislators
Maximize Staff Engagement Through Reviews

Flu Activity Increasing Nationwide
The weekly flu surveillance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports high levels of influenza-like illness in 19 states, including Illinois. Most flu strains are attributed to type A flu—H1N1 and H3N2—with some reports of type B viruses.

Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) data for the week ending Dec. 29 showed a spike in influenza-like illness related healthcare visits for children ages four and younger. One flu-associated pediatric death has been reported in Illinois, 12 nationwide. Champaign, Edwardsville and West Chicago regions have reported a surge in influenza-like illness cases during December.

A CDC comparative flu season trend graph shows a marked rise in healthcare visits for influenza-like illness from December through February. With plenty of weeks left in the flu season, which typically ends around spring, the CDC and IDPH are urging people to get the flu shot.

More information about preventing the flu is available from the CDC.

HHS Releases Healthcare Cybersecurity Publication
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients” publication last month. According to HHS, the publication, developed over two years with the help from 150 cybersecurity and healthcare experts from industry and the government, aims to provide voluntary cybersecurity practices to healthcare organizations of all types and sizes, ranging from local clinics to large hospital systems.

The HICP publication explores the five most relevant and current threats to the industry and recommends 10 cybersecurity practices to help mitigate these threats. It also lays out a call to action for all industry stakeholders, from C-suite executives and healthcare practitioners to IT security professionals, on protective and preventive measures that must be taken now. The publication also includes two technical volumes geared for IT and IT security professionals, along with resources and templates that organizations can leverage to assess their own cybersecurity posture as well develop policies and procedures.

Share Your Quality Efforts with Legislators
Illinois hospitals are doing more—now, it's time to show legislators. IHA's Quality Advocacy Showcase on April 3 is a chance to put your hospital's accomplishments front and center in Springfield. Now in its fourth year, this event gathers state legislators to witness how Illinois hospitals and health systems are improving patient safety and enhancing quality care while reducing healthcare costs.

Submit your organization's quality improvement project before the Friday, Feb. 8 deadline. Complimentary for members, IHA will produce one professionally designed 30-by-42-inch poster per facility. After the showcase, members can keep the poster to share with hospital staff and the community. Posters will describe the issue your organization sought to address; how the issue was addressed; the cost savings it generated; and its impact on patients, families and the community.

Project categories are:

  • Behavioral Health;
  • Care Coordination;
  • Infection Prevention;
  • Opioid Stewardship (new);
  • Patient Safety;
  • Social Determinants of Health (new); and
  • Workplace Safety.

You can also submit a project under “Other” if your project does not fit into any of the categories above. See our showcase webpage for project ideas and our brochure to learn more about the benefits of participating.

Last year’s showcase featured the work of 91 IHA-member facilities. Submit your organization’s project today to make sure your organization is represented at the State Capitol.

Maximize Staff Engagement Through Reviews
Hospitals employ 266,000 Illinoisans; when annual performance reviews roll around, it's no small feat. Best-case scenario: Managers provide meaningful reviews that boost employee engagement and improve productivity. Worst-case scenario: Managers procrastinate or rush the review, leaving the employee frustrated and incapable of improving his or her performance.

How can you achieve the best-case scenario every time?

Gallagher Insurance Point, an IHA Strategic Partner, offers strategies that are invaluable for hospital managers looking to improve productivity by fine-tuning their performance review process. Specializing in the healthcare industry, Insurance Point can help IHA members manage their workforce to maximize engagement, leading to a more positive patient experience.

In a recent thought leadership article, Insurance Point experts suggest a three-step process to engage in meaningful dialogue during performance reviews:

  • Customize the performance review to the individual. Insurance Point can help you identify relevant variables to support each employee's career well-being.
  • Simplify complex forms and difficult processes by taking advantage of reliable, easy-to-use technology platforms.
  • Train managers properly. Insurance Point's proven communications solutions will prepare your managers to give feedback that guides their employees' professional growth to add value to your organization.

When conducting a performance review, it's essential to set clear goals so employees can envision their future contributions at your organization. Insurance Point experts suggest the SMART model when setting these goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Insurance Point's experienced team can coach hospital managers in setting goals that will produce real results.

To learn more about how Insurance Point can benefit your organization, contact Gary Drain, assistant vice president, Human Capital Performance.