Optimizing organizational performance isn’t about the data, it’s about the culture. That was my conclusion after reading the recent articles by Monica E. Oss and Howard Shiffman – What ‘Performance’ Should Your Team Care About? Look At Your Health Plan’s Contract and Making Performance A Day-To-Day Reality.
The first article outlined a few of the elements in the contract between the State of Massachusetts and Optum – a great example of performance-based contracting with a managed care organization that will likely create a domino effect for provider organizations in their network. Howard Shiffman then outlined a great “to do” list for non-profit organizations (or any organization, for that matter) to get ready for the “trickle down” effects of performance-based contracting.
But, even with that checklist completed, I would argue that many organizations will have the tools but not the culture to make metrics-informed organizational improvement a reality. I think there are four “cultures” that executive teams need to build.
A Performance-Based Culture
A performance-based culture is based on encouraging all staff to consider the value their services have to both consumers and payers. How is that value reflected within the organization at all levels? If timeliness of access and responsiveness to service needs are values, are those reflected in administrative functions as well as direct services (see Is Your Culture Performance-Driven? Take The Test and People Power: Managing Teams During The Transition To Value)?
A Data-Driven Culture
A data-driven culture is built on measuring your value to consumers and payers – but the question is how. Do you monitor those leading indicators that will help you predict whether your outcomes will be effective? Does your organization speak the language of data? Does everyone know what measures will reflect their job performance and how they can improve that performance? This requirement extends the whole way to the governing board (see A Data-Driven Culture: What It Is & Why It’s Important).
A Flexible Culture
Performance measures can change, and you need to adapt as they do. If you have effective measures for performance, but the current payers have slightly different metrics for success, can you adjust both your performance and how you measure that? Flexibility does not mean sacrificing an organization’s overall mission to provide services in their communities, but it may involve flexibility in changing a service line, the standard for success, or even the standard for access (see For All The Performance Measurement, Are We Really Measuring Performance?).
A Partnership-Focused Culture
In a performance-driven environment, regardless of your organization’s size or services, there is often a need to seek partnerships with organizations that have complementary strengths. Trying to be all things to all consumers and all payers can impact performance, and therefore payments (see Provider/Health Plan Relationships Moving From Dependence To Interdependence).
When working with organizations seeking to improve their planning and performance, I have encouraged them to look at their culture based on how they problem solve, both with larger external issues such as growing their market presence as well as smaller internal issues, such as productivity expectations. In my experience, employees at all levels comprehend and respond to cultural expectations if that is how their leadership communicates and acts on a daily basis. When an organization’s culture reflects a performance oriented, problem solving approach, payers and community stakeholders respond more positively, as well.
A great final takeaway: Executive teams need to understand the difference between informed risk management and risk aversion. A risk-averse organization can miss opportunities for expansion of services and increased revenue. Remember, you can’t run away from this challenge forever. Any risk-oriented contract needs due diligence, but not total avoidance.
For more, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
- Public Performance Transparency As A Driver Of Performance Improvement
- Why Performance Management (& Metrics) Is A Leadership Issue
- Metrics Are A Leadership Issue
- Becoming A ‘Blue Chip’ Provider Organization
- Using Consumer Experience Data As Management Tool
- There’s More To A Data Culture Than Just Data
- Spending On Data Only Makes Sense When It Leads To Competitive Advantage
- The Five-Step Process To Demonstrate Your “Performance” To Health Plans
For more on meeting the challenge of performance-based operations head-on, join the OPEN MINDS team on September 26 for the session, “Problem Solving For Performance: How To Implement A Quality Management Program,” at The 2017 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.