A leadership framework for culture change in health care

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2006 Aug;32(8):433-42. doi: 10.1016/s1553-7250(06)32057-0.


Background: In 2005, Ascension Health's strategic direction sharpened the focus of its 2002 Call to Action to provide "Healthcare That Works, Healthcare That Is Safe, and Healthcare That Leaves No One Behind, for Life," Ascension Health has used a framework, the Five Cs of Culture Change, to address the call to action--comprehension (understanding the problem), compassion (spirituality and commitment), collaboration (teaming between subcultures and providers), coordination (system processes, infrastructure, and ideation), and convergence (leadership of local culture with spread and dissemination of new norms in a rapid way).

The five cs of culture change and culture surveys: Climate (or culture) of safety results are provided from a baseline systemwide survey of front-line caregivers' assessments of teamwork and patient safety. The findings are aggregated at the hospital level, clinical area level, and caregiver role level, and fed back to executives, managers, and front-line caregivers. The final major element of culture change, and arguably the most important, involves the leadership and fortitude necessary to stimulate convergence of the culture on a new way of doing things.

Conclusion: Ascension Health will continue to use a systemwide culture survey for front-line assessments' of safety and teamwork across all clinical areas and to discover best practices and track progress in improving performance.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Leadership*
  • Medical Staff / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff / organization & administration
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Safety
  • Spirituality
  • Systems Integration