How to Motivate Clinical Staff for Value-Based Purchasing

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, 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.

Karen Minich-Pourshadi Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media. Twitter
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