Research

Create Care Standards Your Front Line Will Embrace

Create Care Standards

Health care leaders recognize care variation reduction as the key to unlocking cost-savings across their organizations. Yet, despite concerted efforts to reach clinical consensus, care standards are often left “sitting on a shelf.” Why?

A common pitfall is that care standards are often designed without workflow in mind, making it difficult to translate them into daily practice. As a result, frontline physicians struggle to follow the standards and often abandon them altogether.

Use the tactics in this research report to create care standards that proactively account for workflow considerations and are actionable at the front line.

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Leaders struggle to scale efforts to reduce care variation
Many pioneers tackling care variation have identified a common challenge: it is difficult to translate care standards into daily practice. For example, one prominent health system identified through our research had approved 106 care pathways, yet only 14 had been fully implemented.

This represents the broader challenge many organizations are wrestling with: how to efficiently scale care variation efforts to multiple standards and facilities.

Create care standards your front line will embrace
Scaling care variation efforts demands an organization-wide strategy. First, leaders need to ensure their organization has adequate performance across the four foundational components of care variation reduction shown below. Once these components are in place, leaders can begin spinning the care variation reduction flywheel.

The Advisory Board Framework for Minimizing Care Variation at Scale

This research report focuses on two components of the care variation reduction flywheel: designing and embedding care standards. Specifically, this report includes tactics that will equip leaders to design care standards that can be successfully embedded into daily physician practice.

Six tactics for care standard design and rollout

Front-Load Workflow Considerations (p. 21)
Create care standards that account for clinician workflow by pulling forward an analysis of the current workflow and proactively identifying what assistance clinicians will need to comply with the new workflow.

Related resources: Review implementation toolkits from Banner Health and University Hospitals to see how they plan for implementation while creating care standards. Download University Hospital’s Introductory Guide to learn how they prepare design teams and frontline clinicians for rollout.

Professionalize the Design Team (p. 39)
Recruit the right people (and skills) to design implementation-ready care standards. Then, equip the team with the knowledge and structure they need to succeed.


Want to learn more about care variation reduction?

The Physician Executive Council has created many resources to help our members reduce unwarranted care variation. Check out three of our most popular resources below:

10 Insights on Reducing Care Variation from Pioneer Health Systems
We convened clinical leaders from eleven health systems to discuss how best to drive care variation reduction at the scale and speed needed to capture dramatic gains in quality and cost-savings. This report offers ten insights from the day-long session for other executives seeking to push the envelope of what’s possible by reducing care variation.

Achieving Cost-Savings Goals through Care Variation Reduction
Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) is working towards an ambitious, four-year $40 million cost-savings target, in partnership with their physicians. Read this report to explore the nine tactics CHS uses to engage—and empower—physicians to reduce unnecessary care variation.

The System Blueprint for Clinical Standardization
Many hospitals and health systems have responded to financial pressures and regulatory changes by turning to consolidation. Often, though, the result is a lack of "systemness"—too many get larger but less effective. This white paper offers a blueprint for achieving a properly organized, successful system that delivers predictable, consistent care.

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