Guest Columns

Creating buy-in for Triple Aim

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Kristy Brown
Kristy Brown

Before you can implement policies to help achieve the triple aim, you're going to need the all-important buy-in from staff. First, let's look at the triple aim itself and how it benefits consumers.

The triple aim consists of improving patient's experience of care (including quality and satisfaction); improving the health of populations; and reducing the per capita cost of health care. To implement all three parts of the triple aim into each aspect of business, it is important that we follow examples that have been successful thus far.

While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services agency does not provide a written protocol of how to implement the triple aim, it is funding an enormous amount of programs to help determine the best means of doing so. Companies must be open to continuous quality improvement in restructuring approaches until they are able to produce the outcomes desired.  This approach will enable your company to align with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

Persistence is Crucial

Once the triple aim becomes integral to your company, you need to be sure everyone on staff understands the tremendous benefits it offers to clients and patients. The essence of the triple aim is to involve the patient to a higher degree in not only their care, but overall well being that will result in less cost for healthcare.

It sounds very simple but, as with all new ideas, it may create some challenges for providers, including therapy companies. If there are difficulties, though, staff should know that it's always possible to change course and rework the plans that were initially in place.

HealthPartners, based in Minnesota, is a good example of persistence in the face of challenges.  They tried an approach that was unsuccessful in meeting people's needs because it was focused on one diagnostic category at a time. This process was slow moving and not hitting all targets of the triple aim.

HealthPartners went back to the drawing board and developed another means of addressing the triple aim. The development of the care model process was about taking bits and pieces of other care models that had the outcomes that they wanted. The new approach succeeded because the company was willing to change.

Reaching Employees

As with any change, buy-in from employees is crucial. In my company, we have a very proactive employee base, involved in all major decisions. Upper management is currently in the process of coming up with techniques for implementation, while at the same time I am going out to all of our communities, educating and soliciting ideas from our great staff.

While talking with employees, I always request their input, as they are the ones who provide day-to-day care. Our company would not have made it this far without the many excellent contributions and ideas we receive from staff daily.

To implement the triple aim successfully, leaders and managers need employees to talk about what is realistic and what is not and add their ideas to ours. We are also adding the Triple Aim Award to other annual awards based on quality. The award will be given to the therapist that most encompasses adherence to how the triple aim works in day-to-day operations.

In short, the steps taken towards the triple aim must be taken by everyone in the company. Without the ownership and buy in of the entire staff, success is impossible. On the other hand, when you do have buy in from staff, better care and better health at a reduced price will be the result for all those we serve. What can be better?

Kristy Brown is the president and CEO of Centrex Rehab. Brown was the executive director of therapy services at Augustana Therapy Services (ATS) between 1999 and 2012.

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Guest Columns

Guest columns are written by long-term care industry experts, ranging from academics and thought leaders to administrators and CEOs.

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