summitCHaD20515The Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) is looking toward the future.

As Keith J. Loud, MD, MSc, FAAP, moved through his first year in the role of director of CHaD, he says, “I thought it was important to pause as best we could and take time to define our assets, determine our future, and make a plan.”

That thought, along with the institution’s overall strategic operating plans, were the impetus behind the recent Imagine CHaD Summits: a series of two comprehensive conferences held in June and September, which brought together CHaD leadership, staff from all disciplines and friends and supporters from across the region, all of whom volunteered their time to imagine the future of CHaD.

“We brought in an expert facilitator and used a methodology called Appreciative Inquiry,” says Loud, who is also interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. This four-step process (Discovery, Dream, Design, Destiny), Loud explains, is unique in that during the Discovery phase, the approach to change is not through problem identification, “but by discovering and defining an institution’s positive core—the root causes of CHaD’s success; those things we must maintain in order to retain our essence and be successful.” Building on the positive core, the summit attendees created a Dream statement imagining ‘what could be.’ “It’s an aspirational statement grounded in reality,” Loud says. “Many people found this spoke to them because it’s genuine to what they know CHaD to already be; it looks a lot like what we currently are, only better—not necessarily transforming, but transformative.”

CHaD has a dream: a dream of being a sustainable integrated academic pediatric health system advancing the well-being and health of infants, children, and adolescents for generations to come.

The practicalities needed to implement and support the vision were determined during the Design phase. CHaD identified key strategies and processes that would move the organization closer to the desired dream state. These methods included expanded collaboration between people, processes, and disciplines across geographic and institutional boundaries, and a continuing and strengthening connections with the integral educational and research components within Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system.

“Now we are in the Destiny phase, and we’ve created action teams around those key design elements,” says Loud. “We have teams formed around regional collaboration, communications, facilitating and empowering our patients through web portals and other technologies, energizing our Manchester hub, and a supportive organizational and administrative fiscal structure. We have one team dedicated solely to making sure that we live our positive core by continually fostering CHaD’s culture of caring from recruitment and throughout employment.”

Loud likens CHaD’s journey towards its destiny to a ship on the ocean: “We look out and see the horizon, but hopefully we will never reach the final destination. We must constantly and continually strive for improvement, always strategically planning for the future in this challenging and ever-changing environment of health care. As needed, we will adjust our course. We want to ensure, that for generations to come, CHaD is and continues to be a sustainable academic pediatric regional health system that is well able to advance the well-being and health of infants, children and adolescents, locally, regionally and also worldwide through our research and educational efforts. Ultimately, our destiny is somewhere out on the horizon and we will always be sailing toward that star.”