Winter 2016-17
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How to Sustain Healthcare Improvement Efforts: 4 Keys to Success
There are few things more frustrating than pouring time and effort into a process improvement just to see those new workflows forgotten and an organization regress to its bad habits. Highlighted below are four tips to help overcome that obstacle.

1. Test new work processes in a pilot unit. Rolling out a new work model tends to be easier when the model has already been tested on a small scale. Having a pilot unit allows management to standardize good habits and ensure the new model is aligned with the organizational goals.

2. Implement improvements on the front line. Engaging frontline clinical staffers who deal with the day-to-day operations of an organization is critical to the success and sustainability of a process improvement. Without the frontline staff, systems frequently revert to their old ways.

3. Celebrate small successes to build morale. Change is difficult and asking for too much too quickly can be demoralizing for any staff. During the early stages of major process change, be prepared to recognize small, short-term achievements that could boost buy-in and momentum.

4. Address staff grievances with improvement efforts. Positive performance reviews and promotions are not the only ways to motivate employees; frontline managers are also more likely to stick with an improvement effort if it eliminates a daily hassle in their own work processes.

—Adapted from “4 Steps to Sustaining Improvement in Health Care” by Kedar S. Mate, MD, and Jeffery Rakover, Harvard Business Review, Nov. 9, 2016.
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