Hospital for Special Surgery HSS

Lisa A. Goldstein, Hospital for Special Surgery HSS

Lisa A. Goldstein

A Caring Culture

Editors’ Note

Lisa Goldstein joined Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in March 1997. Before this, she served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Wayne General Hospital in Wayne, New Jersey, from 1986 to 1996. Goldstein is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 1977 and her Master of Professional Studies Degree in Health Services Administration from the Business School at Cornell University in 1979.

What is the secret to HSS’s incredible success?

The root of our success is a uniquely focused, inspiring, and enduring mission – combining patient care and outcomes, and the advancement of our field. A byproduct of that is a distinctive culture that is exceptionally compelling to both the talent we need and patients who need and expect the very best. It’s as much about energy and resolve as it is about quality – for my colleagues, and the patients and families we serve.

Are you looking to open more facilities in international markets?

We’re working to advance musculoskeletal care worldwide, but for now through education and collaborations as opposed to opening our own facilities.

Many years ago, we took baby steps by entering into a best-practice transfer in the United Kingdom. We made the decision at that time not to invest in brick-and-mortar but to share our expertise in areas such as how we educate our fellows, residents, and physicians; our rehabilitation practices; nursing; and infection control practices.

We have found that cultures elsewhere are very different, so when we embark on an international project, we have to learn what their needs are and then evaluate the opportunity for sharing our best practice there. Often, we learn new things that we can put in place at HSS.

We’re currently most involved with healthcare organizations in Brazil and Korea, but we’re contributing to the advancement of our field elsewhere, such as by providing CME to professionals in more than 100 countries.

How critical is it to to track employee engagement?

It’s only important if the leadership of the organization is committed to employee engagement as a strategy, which we are. That’s because meaningful measurement is more than validation – it’s a dashboard for continuous improvement and optimization.

Because HSS is so specialized, we’re very good at what we do. Our culture is such that we are never satisfied. When you are the best at something, it’s healthy to look inward to find motivation for how to exceed the high water mark you set in the previous measurement.

Engagement doesn’t just involve management; it also has to do with the interactions and dynamics that go on within the work unit. As senior managers, we routinely engage our staff in discussions about how we can help them be more successful. This process helps us create a better workplace. In 2012 and 2013, HSS received the “Gallup Great Workplace Award” – the only hospital in the Northeast to achieve that recognition.

Has the doctor/patient relationship changed to the point where there is less time for patients?

We are an important player, but also small and independent. Efficiency is important and time with patients is a key to that efficiency. One of the most common pieces of feedback we receive from patients is that they are surprised to receive a high level of personal attention from their HSS physician, but we do that because the better we know the patient – and their motivation – the more successful and efficient we are. It’s a value we are safeguarding even with the current EMR implementation exploring how technology can help us to provide the most efficient and most personal care.•