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How to Motivate Clinical Staff for Value-Based Purchasing

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, September 26, 2011

As a healthcare financial leader, you’re probably well aware of the performance-based penalties and rewards that accompany value-based purchasing (VBP). But is your clinical staff? How do you motivate healthcare professionals to drive down costs and improve quality to meet the directives of VBP? I can think of three possible approaches:

  1. The big picture – Explain the potential penalties and rewards and show how these could impact your organization’s financial future
  2. The pocketbook approach – Add incentive bonuses tied to specific quality and patient satisfaction metrics
  3.  Moral obligation – Depend on your staff’s desire to “do the right thing”

What’s the answer? Well, if you and your organization are anything like the panel of five CFOs I interviewed at the recent HealthLeaders Media CFO Exchange, then the answer is likely a combination of incentives and moral obligation.

Frankly, I would have thought an explanation of penalties and rewards would have been the first step. But this group of CFOs agreed that people at the director level already knew exactly how much their organizations stood to gain or lose from VBP. Staff at the clinical level, however, weren’t using VBP financial information.

Now, using hard numbers with the clinical staff isn’t an implausible approach, and it’s been done before with some success. Think of the many hospitals nationwide that launched campaigns encouraging staff at every level to cut costs, setting visible savings goals for each department. After all, margins are thin for most hospitals and health systems these days, and employees know it.

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1 comments on "How to Motivate Clinical Staff for Value-Based Purchasing"


mparker7198 (9/28/2011 at 4:04 PM)
How interesting that the key point for employees to take action is "It's the right thing to do." That's the same thing that came out in the hand hygiene study: healthcare providers couldn't be bothered to wash their hands to keep themselves healthy, but stressing the fact it was the right thing to do to keep their patients healthy[INVALID]-well, that was sufficient motivation. Who'd have thought?