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Improving healthcare service quality through performance management

Denise M. Kennedy (College of Health Solutions, Science of Health Care Delivery Program, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
Christopher T. Anastos (College of Health Solutions, Science of Health Care Delivery Program, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA)
Michael C. Genau, Jr (College of Health Solutions, Science of Health Care Delivery Program, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 28 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Healthcare service quality in the USA has gained importance under value-based payment models. Providing feedback to front-line staff is a vital component of managing service performance, but complex organizational dynamics can prevent effective communication. This work explored the performance management of appointment desk staff at Mayo Clinic Arizona, identified barriers to effective management and sought to standardize the process for monitoring service performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple data sources, including qualitative inquiry with 31 employees from the primary care and surgery departments, were used. The research was conducted in two phases – facilitated roundtable discussions with supervisors and semi-structured interviews with supervisors and staff six months after implementation of service standards. Participants were probed for attitudes about the service standards and supervisor feedback after implementation.

Findings

While all staff indicated a positive work environment, there was an unexpected and pervasive negative stigma surrounding individual feedback from one’s supervisor. Half the participants indicated there had been no individual feedback regarding the service standards from the supervisor. Presenting service standards in a simple, one-page format, signed by both supervisor and the patient service representative (PSR), was well received.

Originality/value

Combining rapid-cycle quality improvement methodology with qualitative inquiry allowed efficient development of role-specific service standards and quick evaluation of their implementation. This unique approach for improving healthcare service quality and identifying barriers to providing individual feedback may be useful to organizations navigating a more value- and consumer-driven healthcare market.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

There was no external funding provided for this research.

Citation

Kennedy, D.M., Anastos, C.T. and Genau, M.C. (2019), "Improving healthcare service quality through performance management", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 477-492. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHS-02-2019-0006

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited