The problem within your healthcare organization is not the lack of data. It’s the culture. There is more data available to most practices than there has ever been in the history of healthcare analytics. The tools needed to capture the data, the warehouse capabilities to store the data, the bright minds available to write the programs to parse the data meaningfully and the metrics needed to evaluate the results are all available to any practice willing to invest the time effort and resources to really take advantage of the “data analysis to gain clinical and financial improvements” opportunities.
The most difficult challenge in most practices is the existing culture of accepting innovation and change or perhaps better said the lack of acceptance.
People are invested in their careers and jobs. If they didn’t really believe in what they were doing and how they were doing it was optimal they would change. The problem is helping people see that their definition of optimal and best practices definition is different. The goal in changing culture is not criticism or negativity. It is not simply pointing out that staff performance falls short of expectation. It is getting staff to buy into a culture that is in constant search of innovation and change and getting them to a place where they invest in excellence and become a real part of the pathways to value.
The way to accomplish this has many and diverse approaches. But there are some things that may bring value to the practice:
- Do you have the right people doing the right jobs? Recently a practice asked for our help in evaluating staff performance. We generally look at performance against best practice performance for their area. A busy practice was hampered by having a person related to a provider performing a task sub-optimally but protected by the provider. The hard truth was, this person was contributing to the overall performance of the staff in a negative way. They needed to go. Not every relative is a negative influence, but when they are, it must be recognized and dealt with to change the culture of accepting sub-par work.
- How often does the practice invite change ideas that can be quickly tested and implemented? The staff doing the jobs are best qualified to answer the question, how can it be done better? By encouraging analytical thinking and technology implementation, taking risks for a better outcome challenges staff and gives them empowerment to make real differences.
- The goal is to match or exceed best practices in your geographical area. You have to start by knowing where you are in relation to those standards. Measurement is imperative. Sometimes just measuring can show staff the deficits and help them face hard realities.
Changing the culture of your practice to accept innovation and change is much more challenging than implementing the newest technology. Investing in the right people doing the right jobs with pride and a sense of fulfillment will reap rewards for everyone.