The Key to Unlocking Collaboration – Incentivize Your Initiatives

07/07/22 | Featured

by Katila Farley, RN, CMOM Healthcare Advisor/Consultant

As a company working towards a value-based care program, the number one thing needed for success is the alignment of your incentives with each of your team members.

Whether joining an independent physician association (IPA) or an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) or working with individual payers towards more quality metrics and being quality-minded, incentives will be the difference between success and failure.

Everyone needs a specific incentive.

Everyone needs a specific incentive that aligns with their day-to-day tasks, from the person opening the mail to the providers to the MAs. However, contrary to popular assumptions, incentives don’t always mean more money. Instead, incentives can be titles, opportunities for growth, or awards. 

But whatever you decide to do, everyone needs to have their paddles in the water rowing in the same direction and, more importantly, pulling the same weight. Many practices and systems implement programs to get people working on the same goal, but they forget to motivate everyone to work as hard as their counterparts.When one team is working harder than the other teams, they get frustrated when the other departments and team members aren’t pulling their weight. 

So, in summary, the key to starting an incentives program is figuring out how every member can participate. 

Choose three to five initiatives to incentivize

When choosing initiatives to incentivize, focus on three to five areas. For example, one initiative could be: to improve the patient experience. So ask this question for each team member: “How can _______ help with the patient experience?” 

It could be as simple as getting the office staff to request people who send mail to instead send via fax. This switch allows the team to use the efficiencies of technology to allow more space for patient interaction. Saving time on tasks affords more time for genuine connection with patients. 

Another initiative could be to complete more Advance Care Planning conversations. For example, a provider’s incentive could be based on how often they open the Affirm Health app to have the discussion, while the office staff’s incentive could be based on how many forms are collected back from patients. 

Types of incentives

After your initiatives are set, it’s time to get creative with what kind of incentives will motivate the team. As the leader, you know what will work best for your team and get them working together instead of in opposition. 

Here are some ideas I’ve used in the past: 

  1. Departmental team competitions – these can be a fun way to see employees come together around a goal!

     

  2. Social gatherings  – it sounds juvenile, but everyone loves a pizza party or ice cream social. Creating ways for your team to feel celebrated and seen, even by providing an afternoon off with some pizza – creates excellent morale.

     

  3. Awards & titles – recognizing individual team members is critical in motivating the team. It creates ownership across individuals and can significantly boost metrics. 

 

Measure and track your incentives

And in conclusion, incentives must be measurable and trackable. This part of the process is where Affirm Health’s suite of EHR integrated software can assist. We create technology that allows practice leaders to put the initiatives they prioritize in front of the provider when it matters most. And not only that, but the analytics dashboard enables leaders to see progress in real-time.