CHICAGO — There is a laundry list of things that are uprooting your core beliefs of what health care is supposed to be — whether it's the aging population, the consumer-minded patient or the deluge of chronic disease. But there are only two types of leaders responding to them. Which one are you?

That was the topic of conversation Tuesday during a speech given by Maureen Bisognano, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, at the International Hospital Federation's World Hospital Congress. In this influential thinker's opinion, faced with such breathtaking change to the profession, health care administrators can either become so stressed that they focus inward and think small, or embrace this change, contemplate ways to partner with others and achieve big.

"As health care leaders, it's our job to transform health care," she told attendees. "We shouldn't be waiting for Washington or policy. We should be taking this on because we're the ones who know the need. We're the ones who know the system."

To get there, hospital management must think outside the box and embrace a new set of guidelines. Developed by the IHI's Leadership Alliance — a group of some 40 health care organizations committed to transforming the business — the New Rules for Radical Redesign in Health Care are as follows:

  1. Change the balance of power by co-producing health and well-being in partnership with patients, families and communities.
  2. Standardize what makes sense to reduce unnecessary variation and increase the time available for individualized care.
  3. Customize to the individual's needs values and preferences, guided by the understanding of what matters to the person, in addition to the typical "What's the matter?"
  4. Promote well-being and focus on outcomes that matter the most to people, appreciating that their health and happiness may not require health care.
  5. Create joy in work by cultivating and mobilizing the pride and happiness of the health care workforce.
  6. Make it easy, continually reducing waste and all non-value-added requirements and activities for patients, families and clinicians.
  7. Move knowledge, not people, exploiting all helpful capacities of modern digital care and continually substituting better alternatives for visits and institutional stays.
  8. Collaborate and cooperate, recognizing that the health care system is embedded in a network that extends beyond traditional walls.
  9. Assume abundance by using all the assets that can help to optimize the social, economic and physical environment, especially those brought by patients, families and communities.
  10. Return the money from health care savings to other public and private purposes.

Bisognano peppered her speech with a series of vivid examples of the principles in play around the world. One dying elderly woman had her hospital stay transformed when she was asked by her caretakers, "What matters to you?" Turns out, it was singing, and Bisognano shared a moving video of the patient belting out "What a Wonderful World" from her hospital bed. Or, the dialysis ward in Sweden where patients came and went as they pleased, performing their dialysis as part of the care team, and changing the balance of power in the hospital.

Such innovative ideas are waiting for you to embrace them, she says, it just takes a little inquisitiveness. Leaders in the profession already come with both a high intelligence quotient and high emotional quotient. It's time they up their curiosity quotient, Bisognano suggests.

"Ask questions, go talk to people, go and look, do the site visits," she told her audience. "Find out anything you can find because that CQ, I think, is going to be the biggest difference in our ability to transform health care."