No matter whether your practice is small or large, creating a Quality Improvement Team can provide the ability to remain viable in today’s rapidly changing healthcare landscape. Practices now face penalties up to 9 percent for 2020 and 2021 (an increase of 5 percent from when MIPS started) for poorly demonstrated performance. These penalties will only increase as the years go on, reaching 11 percent by the end of 2023. However, for practices that are able to properly demonstrate high quality and value, bonus potential continues to rise as well. In addition to MIPS, many insurance companies offer incentive programs with significant bonuses based on demonstration of high quality and value in a practice.
When practices think of creating a Quality Improvement Team, however, they often struggle with where and how to begin. The purpose of this blog is to offer basic guidance for developing and maintaining a Quality Improvement Team at your practice.
For detailed instructions on implementing a quality improvement program at your practice, check out our whitepaper!
Components of a Quality Improvement Team
Any Quality Improvement Team will need to have defined roles and assignments. From the very start, two individuals need to be chosen and assigned team leadership roles as follows:
- Team Leader – This should be a staff member who is organized and shows a demonstrated commitment to keeping the practice’s new quality program on track. The person in this role will be responsible for creating an agenda for each meeting and for leading the meeting. In order to prevent the Team Leader from being overwhelmed by trying to accomplish all these tasks singlehandedly, he or she must delegate responsibilities to various team members.
- Task Tracker – This individual will be responsible for documenting and organizing the methods that the Quality Improvement Team will use to track progress on various quality improvement projects. This person may also be tasked with scheduling and documenting minutes during the initial Quality Team meetings.
Meeting Schedules & Frequency
A monthly frequency is suggested for Quality Improvement Team meetings. Schedule meetings at regular intervals and well in advance. Providers and staff need ample time to plan to attend these meetings, so last-minute scheduling will only make it more difficult for members to attend. Scheduling in advance also helps to keep team members on track with deliverables.
It is important to record all Quality Improvement Team meetings. The Task Tracker should be responsible for documenting the main points or minutes of the meetings and distributing them to all team members shortly after the conclusion of each meeting. The meeting minutes should reflect the important points of the discussion and allow anyone who was not able to attend the meeting to gain a solid understanding of what was discussed and what decisions were made.
After the first few meetings, the person taking the minutes does not necessarily need to be the Task Tracker. It may be a good idea to rotate the minute-taking responsibility amongst all members of the Quality Improvement Team. By doing this, the team can be certain that everyone understands what should be contained within these minutes.
Team Up for Quality Improvement
While the creation of a Quality Improvement team may seem like a daunting task at first, the rewards in terms of both financial gain and workflow improvements within the practice make it worth the effort. Quality Improvement Teams tend to take on a life of their own as members begin to take ownership of the process and start to feel pride in seeing the practice flourish as a result. In addition, the benefit to the practice in terms of continued financial health and high performance on public reporting make the effort more than worthwhile.
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