Ultimate Impact

By Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA

Today’s internal climate can be characterized as one that desires immediate gratification and measurable results, and lives life with one eye – or maybe almost two eyes – focused on what’s next. The imperative is to show results immediately, often and succinctly.

Many of us would like to say or think, “Get real…” to that statement, but healthcare organizations across the country want data driven results, now. If you are not yet feeling this imperative, it’s only a matter of time.

While measurable impact is a challenge, the rewards are terrific. So let’s talk about what to measure and then some simple suggestions to make certain the outcomes are matched with your efforts.

The starting point is to step back and determine what you’d like to measure (long term goal) and then what you can measure (short term). Here are some examples, but there are many more:

Long term goal: Openings compared to fill rate and demonstrated retention two years after hire
Short term goal: Candidate response numbers, site visit numbers, total number signed
Long term goal: Overall increase in physician satisfaction. Defined involvement of percent of active medical staff in quality, safety or business strategy initiatives
Short term goal: Percent increase in physician satisfaction scores for communication and leadership involvement questions. Or percent decrease in complaints from medical staff
Long term goal: Physician-specific year over year growth, measured from baseline data
Short term goal: Year over year growth in two to four service lines that have been selected; or year over year procedure growth in a select outpatient area, like MRIs or outpatient orthopedic surgery volumes
Always remember that the long-term goal best exemplifies the fullest continuum of your contribution. Unlike some, we really do want one eye on the present and one eye on the future!

Tips and Techniques

Many have done an excellent job of reading the local culture, evaluating their own skills and the skills of the team, and then providing a consistent approach. Consider what’s in place and then prioritize what you need.

1. You must understand the data

If you don’t live in the world of data and tracking, get help. Ask for help because, besides a good education for you and enhanced capabilities, there is a tremendous level of comfort to have them back you up when you are questioned.

2. Recognize how your leaders think

Evaluate if they are most interested in process, outcome measures or both. Ask for reports that they like and then take the framework and match it to your area.

3. Consistency

Commit to a level of frequency for measuring and reporting and stick to it. It goes without saying – not only do the results need to be consistently gathered, they must also be consistently distributed.

4. Negotiate credit on the front end

Getting agreement on what credit you get is an absolute essential. Make certain that leaders and finance agree with your metrics. Having this in writing is a really good idea too.

5. Align your outcomes with the strategic plan

The best work in the world is only valued when it is the business we want.

6. Talk about it

Share both stories and results. It generates good interest internally and assures your program stays front and center.

7. Keep your eye on the long-term goal

Work and refine it internally and then when it’s in place, transition to the broader audience.

8. Prepare for the curmudgeons

There will always be those who doubt and question. Prepare for it.

The time is right to define and/or refine the data that demonstrates our impact. By starting small, demonstrating significance and earning credibility, we have the potential to support our organization with hospital-physician strategies that show we get results.