Leading Organizational Change: Implementation of the Hospital Incident Command System

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Michel, Beth
Master of Leadership Development
Acceptance of the federal grant money obligates Lutheran to implement the HICS structure and transition to a more effective emergency response method than the one currently in place. As a result, policies and procedures have been changed to comply with the structure. Full implementation of HICS and FastCommand at Lutheran will change the way the organization responds to unplanned events. Unplanned events in healthcare are understood to refer to any situation outside the normal daily processes, including emergencies such as fires or winter storms, infant abductions, or disease outbreaks. As with any organization, change can be met with resistance and a culture of uncertainty, especially when processes differ from “the way we’ve always done it.” To succeed in the implementation of HICS, it is imperative that the hospital’s leadership, comprised of administrative staff and department directors, support this change and prioritize emergency preparedness. An extension of Lutheran’s mission statement includes several action statements designed to show the hospital’s commitment to healthcare and to the community, including: “Continually exploring, developing and implementing new concepts and re-evaluating existing programs in the interest of improved services and optimized use of resources.” Implementation of HICS will test that statement and allow real action to occur. Unfortunately, at the time of this paper, while hospital administration has voiced support for the initiative, few have volunteered for readily available FastCommand training, which is the first step towards understanding the HICS structure. How to create a framework for an administrative culture change with regards to organizational emergency response is this paper’s problem statement.