Performance was the theme of last week’s 2015 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute. And if you read the summaries by my colleagues, Monica E. Oss (see Succeeding In The Face Of New Competition) and Joe Naughton-Travers (see Market, Math & Metrics), the ability to act on performance data is a key management competency. The question – how do you move from having the data to doing something with it?
That was the focus of the session, Optimizing Performance Measurement Through Culture Change & Technology Adoption – by Christy Winter, LMSW, Manager of Clinical Informatics & Outcomes, Qualifacts, and Karen Brannon, Ph.D., Director of Research & Organizational Development, Family Services of Western Pennsylvania. They discussed the steps involved in moving to an organizational culture of metrics-based management – and provided an example of a successful transition. Successfully getting your team on board takes eight “fundamental steps” to culture building around data measurement and use:
- Communicate – Establish a shared vision of the measurement culture that includes a clear picture of where the change is leading.
- Make sure you have a well-defined and measurable plan – Develop a “readiness assessment”, a strategy for addressing areas identified in that assessment, and include staff in the development of this strategy and plan.
- Involve staff as much as possible in decision making, especially around implementation processes – Set clear goals and objectives for your staff, so they understand what a successful culture will look like. You must ensure staff understands why and how to use data and results.
- Make data collection as electronic as possible – A culture of measurement can take root using “paper and pencil” technology, but it can’t flourish or compete in a high-tech world that demands vast amounts of data, data analytics, and data sharing.
- Use data you are already collecting – Adopting a culture of measurement doesn’t have to be a “by your bootstraps” effort. Most organizations are already collecting large amounts of data, and that data can be the cornerstone to a new measurement culture.
- Integrate data collection into daily work flow – You data is no good as either a tool, or as a way to strengthen your measurement culture if you don’t make it valuable to your staff. That value comes through use.
- Celebrate – Your staff can only know you are making progress if you are transparent about that progress. Share process, outcome, and measurement successes.
Dr. Brannon described her use of this framework at Family Services of Western Pennsylvania (FSWP), which is a $27 million organization which provides 42 different programs (including clinical, counseling, and specialized mental health care provided in clinics, schools and community settings) in the Pittsburgh area. FSWP used this approach for the implementation of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), the nine-item depression scale for diagnosing depression and monitoring treatment response, which was administered upon admission, with service plan reviews, and upon discharge. Previously, FSWP only did this survey for a sample of consumers, but the electronically-based tools now allow them to do this for everyone, and adjust treatments to bring these scores down.
Central to successfully adopting the culture of measurement it took to bring these scores down? “You have to communicate to all staff, all the time,” said Dr. Brannon. “And if you think you have communicated it enough, communicate it again.”
Performance measurement in health and human services is evolving and it will take an evolving organizational culture to keep up. How do you know you’ve succeeded? According to Ms. Winter, “The end goal that shows you’re successful is when your team starts asking for more information.” For more on shaping organizational culture, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library – Will Your Culture Eat Your Strategy For Lunch? and Competencies Without Culture A Fast Track To Failure.