Most hospital value analysis teams typically do some sort of planning. They look at their goals, processes, and discuss possible outcomes. They make specific assignments, set up dates, and create a follow-up system on new or existing product, service, and technology investigations. All of these actions are consistent with moving these healthcare value analysis teams closer to excellence.
Yet, what we have observed that most hospital value analysis teams don’t do very well is “team maintenance” or the care and feeding of their people, processes, and performance. This means taking the time to periodically look at the big picture to ensure that your value analysis team is meeting their stated vision, mission, goals, and objectives to make sure the team members are fully engaged in their VA process.
Team Members are Afraid to Criticize Their Peers
I remember a few years back when we were coaching a cardiology value analysis team that I noticed that this VA team couldn’t make decisions, even on the simplest product choice. After some investigation, we discovered that the team members were afraid to criticize their peers or make decisions on products that would change their department’s formulary, thereby offending someone. Once we and the team’s administrative champion were aware of this dysfunctional behavior, we reshuffled this team’s membership to cancel out this unwanted conduct.
In a nutshell, team maintenance comes down to this, “If no attention is paid to how team members are feeling, (acting and doing) many will eventually lose interest and either slow down or leave (your VA team),” which is the observation of John Syer and Christopher Connolly, authors of “How Teams Work: The Dynamics of Effective Team Development.”
To keep this behavior (and other forms of it) that I just described from happening with your hospital value analysis team, team leaders should be asking your team members these questions:
Value Analysis Team Maintenance Questions
- What is your opinion on this topic?
- How did you feel about the meeting?
- What if anything, would you like to change?
Just as important, team leaders need to be there, even when it hurts. By this I mean that if a team member isn’t doing his or her work then you need to face this fact, not run from it. Team discipline requires that you as a leader either fix this problem or it will only get worse.
The unsalable fact is that hospital value analysis teams don’t get better or progress to the next level of performance by accident! They are nurtured, motivated, and guided to do so by their team leaders. In fact, I have never seen an outstanding value analysis team that didn’t have an exceptional team leader. The two go together hand in hand!
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