Quality improvement is an important means of achieving the triple aims of healthcare – enhancing the experience of patient care, improving overall population health and reducing the cost of care. As part of MACRA, CMS places heavy emphasis on quality improvement activities for eligible clinicians, from private practices to large health systems.
However, actual quality improvement cannot be achieved alone, and a fully engaged quality team tends to take on a life of its own as members begin to take ownership of the process and pride in seeing the practice flourish. For the individual leading the quality improvement process at your medical organization — whether that person is a dedicated quality professional, practice owner or administrative professional — working to engage fellow providers and staff in quality improvement is essential for success.
Emphasizing professional development opportunities
If you have a small practice, your team may consist of everyone who works within the office. However, if your practice is larger, you can be selective in choosing members of the team.
During the beginning stages of a quality program, it’s important to remember that individuals on your quality improvement team may be able to pursue professional development opportunities while also contributing to quality improvement activities and reporting.
Research shows that 76 percent of employees are looking for career growth opportunities to develop their skills and show their potential for more responsibility. Take time to meet with individual team members to discuss their personal strengths and weaknesses, and talk about how their specific department can impact quality improvement for the organization as a whole.
Develop a quality improvement display board for recognition
Every practice should have a quality improvement display board where successes and information can be posted and shared with the entire staff, especially with those who are not a formal part of the quality improvement team. Quality is everyone’s job, and all staff members need to be able to see performance data and be informed of their group’s achievements.
Your board can be placed in a patient-accessible area if you would like, as long as you ensure there is no PHI shared on it. In this way, you can share with patients all the efforts you are making to improve your practice. Or, you can place your board where only staff members have access, such as the break room. Either way, it should be in a location where all of administrative staff, clinical staff and providers can view it on a regular basis. This keeps quality improvement at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Use an agenda to structure meetings
One of the best practices for tracking improvement points is implementing a structured meeting agenda for your quality improvement team. An agenda outlining subjects, allotted time and speakers helps participants review material ahead of time; then, they can come prepared to share information and with suggestions for next steps. It is particularly effective to note next to each agenda item whether the purpose is to share information, seek input for an ongoing project or make a decision. This framework for ongoing improvement creates clarity for the team and provides a structure for tracking the success of a project or understanding when there is the need for a change of direction.
Record meeting minutes to encourage accountability
While the term “minutes” is a little misleading, it is important to capture the essence of what was discussed whenever your team meets to document improvement efforts and to discuss what did and did not work. Details should include decisions made, next steps planned and the identification and tracking of action items. This helps create a tangible record of the meeting, which can be a valuable resource for staff members who did not attend. Beyond the recording of meeting minutes, consider posting them on your quality improvement board to serve as a reminder about assigned tasks and timelines for completion.
The majority of employees feel unsatisfied with the level of recognition they receive for doing a good job at work. However, value-based care programs such as MACRA provide a unique opportunity to foster professional growth in medical practices. In addition, they offer a tangible way for achievements to be recognized in a public way.
If your practice is struggling with team engagement in quality improvement, download our Quality Improvement Team Meeting Template, which provides a structure that can help you better track your team’s goals and progress.