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Physicians, APs: Emphasize Past PI Experience in a Job Interview

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Performance-improvement initiatives are a high-priority focus for many healthcare organizations today, largely because of federal regulations and reimbursement benchmarks that must be met.

Because of this, as physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, you should be prepared to offer your perspective in a job interview on performance improvement, especially if you’ve served on a performance-improvement team of some sort at a previous position.

You should also be aware of the characteristics of a good performance-improvement strategy to ensure a potential employer is approaching their initiatives in a sound manner. Case in point, earlier this year, I interviewed Johnese Spisso, RN, MPA, chief health system officer for UW Medicine, which is based in Seattle. Spisso is UW Medicine’s first chief health system officer, a role that grew out of UW Medicine’s performance-improvement strategy.

Three years prior to the creation of Spisso’s role, UW had begun developing performance-improvement teams that were stationed within each member organization.

As the chief health system officer role has evolved, Spisso has been able to improve the communication among these teams. Various methodologies have been tested at each member entity, and the performance-improvement teams consist of experts in such methods as Lean and 5S.

Meeting as a committee, each team is responsible for overseeing performance improvement (PI) and care transformation at their member organization, exploring ways in which costs can be reduced and the Triple Aim can be met. The teams focus on three areas in particular: transformation of care, supply-chain management, and revenue-cycle management.

“It’s really been a program that starts at the ground up,” she said. “We have physicians and staff at every level of the organization engaged in it, and we try to provide an efficient administrative structure so those great ideas and opportunities can be resourced. And once we establish a best practice, we can quickly roll it out to all of our sites.”

“The structure has been key,” she added. “At each site, we have one PI director and that individual works with all of the physicians and staff at that institution to make sure all of the projects are being implemented.”

Each team leader collaborates with a centralized committee of experts who understand Lean, 5s, and other system-improvement methods.

In 2014, UW successfully completed a PI plan with over 100 initiatives that ended up saving the system $100 million.

For this reason, if you have been a key member of a performance-improvement strategy in a past position, you should emphasize this experience in a job interview. Performance-improvement plans, when properly implemented, can benefit organizations in multifaceted ways and your experience could make you more attractive as a job candidate.

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