Flip No. 67

Mission Matters: Including Community in a Clinic’s Goals

Patient, caregiver, and community input can lead to a stronger mission statement.

By Amy Edgar, Travis O’Brien, Caronne Taylor Bloom

Developed at Flip the Clinic Lab: Princeton

A clinic or health system’s mission statement helps guide its development. It’s the cornerstone by which every other part of the clinic is measured against. It’s important in motivating staff, presenting patients with a consistent experience, and making sure a center’s growth aligns with its goals. A strong mission statement can unite and inspire staff, and when everyone is on the same page, it can help clinicians provide more even care to patients.

But mission statements shouldn’t just be about staff. As they grow, clinics need to understand not just their own goals, but their role for their patients, in their communities, and in the greater health care ecosystem.

So why not bring others in? Patients, carers, and people from the larger community can all lend valuable perspective that could help strengthen and shape a growing health center’s mission. By including the people a clinic serves in its development, a collaborative mission statement can tighten a clinic’s tie to the community, get closer to delivering the kind of care patients actually want, and make clinic staff feel that they’re actually acting in the patients’ best interests—because patients helped define them.