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Addressing Healthcare Compliance: A Busy Week in “COI World”


By Bill Sacks, Vice President, HCCS, a HealthStream Company

describe the imageOpen Payments Database is Now Published

The last few weeks have been eventful ones for those who monitor the Conflicts of Interest “ecosystem.” On September 30, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the long awaited “Open Payments” database, putting more than four million items online in an almost incomprehensible jumble of tables that had to be cross referenced and searched using tools that, to be generous, were not the most user friendly or responsive.

The data included remuneration and other exchanges of value from August to December, 2013 from pharmaceutical and medical device companies to physicians, medical schools and other providers. Those with the wherewithal to download and analyze the 1.5+ gigabytes of data posted in seven distinct database files began to provide some analysis within a few days.

The database included 4.4 million payments totaling $3.5 billion. More than half a million doctors and about 1,360 teaching hospitals received at least one payment. In the initial online publication, up to 40 percent of the data had identifying information redacted, due to questions
about its accuracy. (That data will supposedly be cleaned up and reported next year.) In a fact sheet reported online, officials reported that data on an additional $1.1 billion in payments had been withheld altogether, either because data was disputed, or because of “delays in publication” of that data.

Healthcare Compliance and Conflict of Interest Training from HCCSThat said, it was still possible to glean some interesting information from the data. Medical doctors and teaching hospitals received 69% and 25% respectively of the payments reported. The remaining six percent was shared by dentists, osteopaths, optometrists, podiatrists and chiropractors.

Over the last year there was a lot of discussion between CMS and providers about how to report payments from industry for research. Many of these concerns were not resolved in time for publication, and more than 90% of those payments had identifying information redacted.

Information was also redacted on 56% of arrangements that involved physician ownership, including partnerships, equity participation, stock options etc. This may reflect confusion over reporting requirements and/or problems identifying individuals with similar names. CMS has indicated that this data will be reported accurately by next year.

Royalty and license payments paid to physician and hospital inventors accounted for 31% of the $976 million of “General Payments.” Twenty-one percent (21%) of these payments were for promotional talks, which the government calls “services other than consulting”. Meals accounted for 3.5 million of the 4.4 million payments reported, but accounted for less than 10%
of the expended dollars. In addition, doctors were paid for more than 200,000 trips by companies in the five months reported.

A New Conflict of Interest Scorecard

Also released in the same week as the ”Open Payments” data was the annual American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Conflict of Interest Scorecard, which has been expanded from grading only medical schools to include a cross section of over 200 teaching hospitals and medical schools on their conflict of interest policies and practices. The AMSA scorecard and other factors have prompted many organizations to improve their COI policies over the years, and this year’s version reports significant improvement, with 35 organizations receiving an “A”
grade, and 111 receiving a “B”. Five years ago, only 9 organizations received an “A” grade, and 36 a “B”.

Still, the AMSA reported there was much room for improvement. Only 44% of surveyed institutions had model policies related to ghostwriting and honorary authorship. Forty-three percent (43%) had model policies related to acceptance of gifts, 42% had model policies related to consulting arrangements, and only 40% completely prohibited industry paid meals
of any nature or value.

New Findings

On the research front, a study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that showed that investigators examining the efficacy of prophylactic treatments for influenza (such as Tamiflu or other neuraminidase inhibitors) were far more likely to have positive results if they had financial interests in the companies producing the drugs. Of eight (8) studies performed by investigators with financial conflicts, seven (7) had positive results. On the other hand, of 29 studies performed by investigators with no financial conflict of interest, only five (5) were favorable. The study concluded that “Reviewers with financial conflicts of interest may be more likely to present evidence about neuraminidase inhibitors in a favorable manner and recommend the use of these drugs than reviewers without financial conflicts of interest.”


So there you have it:

  1. Evidence of the problem in the published research, which has demonstrated once again that financial conflicts of interest can have deleterious effects on the delivery of the highest quality evidence-based medical treatment
  2. Initial (if troubled) efforts to mitigate the problem in the long awaited actions by the federal
    government to increase transparency in the financial arrangements between medicine and industry
  3. Indications of improvement over time, as indicated in the AMSA Scorecard, which reports slow
    but steady improvement in the efforts to identify and manage the inherent conflicts of interest that are likely to continue for a long time to come.

Not a bad few weeks.

The HCCS COI-SMART system provides comprehensive tools for tracking and managing Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosures. COI-SMART provides for the development of multi-level branching questionnaires, automated assignment of reviewers, the development of COI management plans, and data mining tools for auditing, tracking and reporting on potential conflicts of interest.

Learn more.



Senior Care and Long-Term Care Need a Culturally Competent Workforce


We are proud to feature this partner Orange Paper, written by Linda Hollinger-Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN, Vice President Mather, LifeWays Institute on Aging.

Cultural competency is at the core of high quality, resident-centered services and care in senior living and long-term care settings, directly impacting how they are delivered and received by residents. According to the Institute of Medicine’s report (2002), Unequal Treatment Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, a consistent body of research indicates a lack of culturally competent care directly contributes to poor patient outcomes, reduced patient compliance, and increased health disparities, regardless of the quality of services and systems available. In addition to improving care quality and resident satisfaction, delivering culturally competent care increases job satisfaction and contributes to staff retention.

Mather Lifeways - Develop a Culturally Competent Workforce for Senior CareThis paper includes:

  • Health disparities and health equity
  • What is culturally competent care
  • Why do we need a culturally competent health care workforce?
  • Supporting the need for cultural competency development for the senior living/long-term care workforce
  • Assessing the community’s cultural competency
  • National standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • The nurse’s role in delivering culturally competent care in senior living and long-term care

Complete the form below to download the white paper.

Ebola Preparedness Is TOP of Mind for Everyone in Healthcare


By Robin Rose, Vice President, Strategic Initatives, HealthStream

The World Health Organization is projecting that the total number of people infected by Ebola will top 20,000 in November; the CDC expects as many as 1.4 million cumulative worldwide infections by January 2015.  While early presumptions were that Ebola would not be an issue for Americans, the recent incidents at Texas Health Presbyterian show we were mistaken, and
hospitals are scrambling to make sure they are prepared.  Pennsylvanian Surgeon General Carrie DeLeone is optimistic, recently stating in The Patriot News that, “…most, if not all hospitals, within the state have the equipment necessary to isolate someone with the illness and adequately protect healthcare workers and the public” [Sullivan, 2014].  Betsy McCaughey, PhD, former Lt. Governor of New York, takes the opposite view, worrying that hospitals that
currently cause more than 75,000 deaths a year due to hospital-acquired infections are not likely to follow necessary precautions [Sullivan, 2014]. 

Ebola Preparedness Training

Hospitals and Ebola

Hospitals are learning a lot based on the recent treatment of Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and Texas Health Presbyterian in Sherman, TX.  Their experiences have raised awareness that hospitals may not be as prepared as we thought and that more help is needed in areas such as communicating via electronic medical records systems, knowing what types of protective gear are needed, knowing how to don and remove protective gear, and handling  contaminated waste removal.  For example, the two initial Ebola patients treated at Emory generated up to 40 bags of medical waste a day, and initially, the hospital’s waste management company refused to handle it [Sullivan, 2014]. 

What Nurses Think About Ebola

A recent survey by National Nurses United of 400 nurses in more than 200 hospitals in 25 states found that some 60% of nurses said their hospital was unprepared to handle Ebola patients [Steenhuysen, 2014]. Similarly, emergency medicine physicians recently gave America a C- for emergency preparedness [Rossenau, 2014].  Many worry that hospitals do not yet have in place comprehensive training programs that cover the full range of staff who are potentially involved in the treatment of an Ebola patient—everyone from ED staff, ICU staff, radiology, transport, waste management, etc. 

The Importance of Training for Preventing Ebola Transmission

We know that the majority of infections in healthcare workers in Western Africa have come when workers were donning or removing their hazmat suits.  Has your hospital decided what type of protective gear is needed, who needs it, and how it should be removed and disposed of?  This is just one of many issues hospital executives will grapple with over the next several months as U.S. hospitals move quickly to prepare themselves for any future Ebola patients.

Find Ebola prevention resources, including training information.

The Role of Continuing Education (CE) in Improving Patient Outcomes


By Trisha Coady RN BSN MNc, Director of CE Center, HealthStream

Costs of Preventable Errors

In the landmark report published in 1999 from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), To Err is Human: Building a Safer Healthcare System, it was noted that:

  • Up to 98,000 patients die each year in US due toHealthStream CECenter medical errors that could have otherwise been prevented.
  • Total costs were estimated at between $17 billion and $29 billion per year in hospitals nationwide.
  • Errors area also costly in terms of lack of trust with diminished satisfaction by both patients and health professionals.

More recently in September 2013, the Journal of Patient Safety published an article estimating that over 400,000 patients die each year in the US due to preventable medical errors.

A Transforming System

The 2010 Affordable Care Act has initiated broad and transformational change to our healthcare system, with reimbursements shifting from fee-for-service care to value-based care.

In response to the changes upon us, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the
Institute of Medicine (IOM) launched a two-year initiative to assess and provide thought leadership on transforming the nursing profession. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change,
Advancing Health

Transforming the health care system to provide safe, quality, patient-centered, accessible, and affordable care will require a comprehensive rethinking of the roles of many health care
professionals, nurses chief among them. To realize this vision, nursing education must be fundamentally improved both before and after nurses receive their licenses.

Recommendations - The Future of Nursing

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health delivered 8 key recommendations:

  1. Remove scope-of-practice barriers
  2. Expand opportunities for nurses to lead and diffuse collaborative improvement efforts
  3. Implement nurse residency programs
  4. Increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020
  5. Double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020
  6. Ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning
  7. Prepare and enable nurses to lead change to advance health
  8. Build an infrastructure for the collection and analysis of interprofessional health care workforce data

As a clinical leader within your organization, how do you champion change? How do we support
the need to ensure optimal patient outcomes, while minimizing overall costs across all departments?

Fostering a culture of lifelong learning and enabling staff to lead change, as well as engage in their own path to knowledge acquisition is a critical step towards the future of Nursing.

Learn more about CECenter.


1. James, John T. Journal of Patient Safety: A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. September 2013. Volume 9; Issue 3. p. 122–128.

2. Institute of Medicine (IOM). To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Washington: National Academy Press; 1999.

3. Institute of Medicine (IOM). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.
Washington: National Academies Press; 2011.



Hospital Saved Time and Money with Automated Competency Management


This blog post details a customer success with the HealthStream Competency Center. It was originally featured in the inaugural issue of HealthStream's Healthcare Workforce Advisor, our quarterly magazine designed to bring you thought leadership and best practices for developing the healthcare workforce.

HealthStream Healthcare Workforce AdvisorHOSPITAL BACKGROUND

Established in 1950, Feather River Hospital, part of the Adventist Health Network, is a 100-bed facility, staffed by over 160 physicians and 1,250 employees, serving Paradise, California, and neighboring communities. The Volunteer Services program at Feather River is essential to hospital operations. Volunteers contribute at least 100 hours each per year, working in roles based on their interests and skills. In 2013, 449 volunteers provided 68,171 hours of service, some in fundgenerating capacities. As a result, the Volunteer Services program has been able over time to make monetary contributions to the hospital. Past bequests have benefited patients and employees by funding multiple initiatives, including completion of a new emergency room.


Managing the competencies of staff and volunteers had become too cumbersome to be effective. The hospital’s manual process generated approximately 24,000 pieces of paper per year and incurred additional costs for filing and copying. The hospital’s ability to provide required information to accreditation agencies and the Adventist Health corporate organization used many employee resources and was also inefficient. Feather River Hospital needed to move from a manual, paper-based process to a more efficient, electronic competency management solution for creating, managing, assessing, tracking, and reporting.


Feather River Hospital selected the HealthStream Competency Center because it offered the best solution for meeting their specific requirements of increased employee and volunteer education, training, and competency. The education and training departments realized the value and need for implementing HealthStream’s automated Competency Center but had a major problem—how to pay for the solution. The education and training department of Feather River Hospital approached Ms. Rebecca Williams, Director of Volunteer and Retail Services, about the idea of obtaining the funds from Volunteer Services. Ms. Williams, in collaboration with Carrie Lambert, Manager of Education and Training, developed a presentation to the Board of Volunteers which outlined the benefits and cost of the HealthStream Competency Center. The request then had be voted on by all of those attending the board meeting, which included over 200 volunteers, who voted unanimously to fund the project. Feather River Hospital began implementation of the HealthStream Competency Center in 2014.


  • Saved over 1,000 directors’ hours per year. 
  • Reduced paper, filing, and copying expenses, saving thousands of dollars.
  • Reduced corporate compliance audit from two weeks to three hours.

Learn more about the HealthStream Competency Center.

Subscribe to Healthcare Workforce Advisor. 

Complete the form below to download this issue of Healthcare Workforce Advisor.

Using HeartCode®, Hospital Improves ROSC Rate by 16% and Saves $400K


This blog post details one of many successes we have identified for customers using our solutions. Learn about more customer successes here.

By adopting the American Association HeartCode® program, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas:

  • Increased staff confidence and competence in delivering
    high-quality CPR - ultimately resulting in an improvement in the rate of return
    in spontaneous circulation (ROSC) by 16% over four years
  • Reduced time staff spent in classroom training by nearly 50%
  • Saved an average of $75,000 per year and more than $400,000 in the
    four years of using HeartCode 

Watch a Video about this Customer Success.

HeartCode Resuscitation Training from HealthStreamFor more than sixty years, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas has been dedicated to providing quality health services in a Christian environment.  Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas is a
not-for-profit, community-owned healthcare facility with 508 beds and over 700 licensed nurses. It has been a Magnet® designated facility since 2007and it is the only Chest Pain Certified facility in Southeast Texas.

Baptist started using HealthStream in 2005 and adopted HeartCode in 2008. Even though the hospital was content with the classroom method of CPR training, hospital leadership saw the opportunity to improve CPR training with evidence based practice by adopting Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS).

After adopting HeartCode, Baptist was able to overcome the challenges of adopting a new way of conducting CPR training and successfully implement the program across their facility.  They also improved the quality of CPR and resulted in significant cost savings.

Read the full success story.

Fill out the information at this link to learn more about HeartCode. 

Performance Recognition for Healthcare Staff Must Be Meaningful


This blog post continues our series of patient experience Best Practices from BLG, a HealthStream Company. Every week we will share information from BLG that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions BLG has identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

Meaningful recognition is tied intrinsically to the organization’s mission, vision and values. When employees see that their actions have impacted one of these driving principles, they are motivated to repeat the behavior again and again. But it is also important to research how people wish to be rewarded, what is meaningful to them.

Why Recognize Excellent Performance?

Recognizing an employee for work that advances the organization’s mission, vision or values promotes a culture of high performance. So does honoring employees who have demonstrated the characteristics and behaviors that the organization holds in high regard. If leaders consistently reward employees by tying the recognition to one of the organization’s driving
principles – a process known as “connecting the dots” - think of the difference it would make! People would be encouraged and motivated to repeat that positive behavior again and again, knowing its impact.

describe the imageMaking Rewards and Recognition Meaningful

Yet, the praise still has to be meaningful to them as individuals, which ties back to their personality or qualities. Reward and recognition, after all, is about focusing on the good things that a person does, instead of concentrating only on organizational areas of improvement.

An Example of Meaningful Recognition

For example, praising an employee for an innovation that saved the organization some money is the thing to do. But think how much more meaningful it would be if the recognition went something like this: “John’s ability to see the big picture made him question why so much money is being spent on that item. His clever thinking resulted in a new way of doing things that is a lot more cost effective. He’s a true innovator!” You are not only pointing out how John helped the organization, but how his particular talents were key to the process. It has much more significance.

Consider that it is sometimes the “behind the scenes” employees who make the most difference to our customers. It could be something so simple as how food is placed on a tray, turning out an overhead light that is bothersome, or cleaning up a mess with a positive attitude.

Connect Recognition to Service Excellence and Outcomes

Recognize the individuals who perform those tasks, but do it in a way that connects their
caring actions to service excellence. This reinforces the behaviors that will in turn positively impact patient satisfaction surveys.

It may take some extra time for a leader to think about and create meaningful personalized feedback and praise for a job well done, connecting the behavior to the organization as well. But it will pay off in the long run. Recognition that values people for who they are has the power to energize; it can change the corporate culture and result in even more motivated employees. What a return on the leader’s investment of time!  

“People want to feel what they do makes a difference.”

—Frances Hesselbein, President, The Drucker Foundation

Reward and Recognition Training

BLG teaches key skills, approaches, techniques, and best practices to help leaders effectively reward and recognize high performers. Elements of this training include how to harvest reward and recognition opportunities, thank you notes as a key engagement tool, formal recognition programs that support a patient focused culture, and informal methods that create a custom, individualized approach to thanking team members in your employee family.

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.


Implement Evidence-Based Competency Assessments for Post-Acute Care


By Linda Hollinger-Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN; Vice President, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging

Why all the buzz about evidence-based competency assessment for health care professionals?  As managers, we all like to think we have processes in place to hire the best and brightest staff. Typical processes in place include: 

  • Collecting and screening applicants’ resumes
  • Various levels of job interviews including one-on-one and group meetings
  • Written assessments or testing
  • Obtaining background checks and references 

Post-Acute Care Training and Competency Assessment A great deal of time and effort is put into place to recruit and onboard qualified staff as well as complete annual performance evaluations in a timely fashion. Replacing staff who later leave the organization can be costly. For example, it has been estimated that the cost of replacing one nurse is equivalent to about twice the nurse’s annual salary. This does not take into account the potential negative impact on the quality of care, productivity, and customer and employee satisfaction as a result of staff turnover.  

Although there are numerous reasons why staff may leave an organization, addressing their needs for growth and development, clarity of expectations, and ongoing performance feedback are important keys to retention. Developing and implementing an evidence-based competency assessment program can be a significant mechanism to promote ongoing learning and achieve effective continuous quality improvement outcomes. 

Register for a free webinar about Creating Competency Programs for Post-Acute Care.

What Makes Evidence-Based Competency Assessment Different? 

With my experience as an educator and clinician, I have worked with a number of competency models over the years. Most of these models tend to be “task-oriented” and “process focused” with evaluation components emphasizing technical skills. There is very little leverage to customize and match performance levels based on specific job requirements and individual abilities. To that end, annual performance evaluations failed to address quality improvement or specific learning needs of the employee.  

With the growing complexities of healthcare and increased focus on accountability and quality, I found that evaluating competent practices in both my students and clinical staff required an outcomes-based model for ongoing competency assessment targeting the learner rather than on the task at hand.    

What makes evidence-based competency assessment different is that review mechanisms focus on what the staff can do (e.g., the behavior) rather than solely on what they know in order to complete a task. Evidence-based competency assessment takes into account not just understanding and performing technical skills, but also requires integrating critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and ability to adapt to change in the environment. Staff need to be prepared for what I would term the “what if” situations – what if my patient does not respond to my treatment or what if there is some complication from the procedure? 

Another difference is the focus on “best evidence” approach to health care delivery. There is a great deal of research supporting the importance of evidence-based practice on achieving successful patient outcomes. More and more, I am seeing evidence-based practice becoming the expectation among health care educators and professionals across various settings. We are moving away from the “well, that’s how we’ve always done it!” attitude.     

Evidence-Based Competency Assessment is Ongoing 

Organizations that fully embrace evidence-based competency assessment integrate these processes into all phases of employment from hiring to onboarding to annual performance evaluation. The organization should start with identifying competencies required and recommended for each particular position.  

A good starting point is to review recommended competencies published from a number of national professional organizations, particularly as these are based on best evidence.  For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing published the “Recommended Baccalaureate Competencies and Curricular Guidelines for the Nursing Care of Older Adults”
(September 2010).  For each job classification, limit the list of competencies to no more than 9-12 that would distinguish your top performers. Competencies may then be ranked as to degree of importance for that position.  

During onboarding, the new employee’s performance is evaluated according to the competencies at specific points such as in the first six to eight months and then annually. Competency assessment should also be dynamic to encourage new learning and demonstrate a constructive approach to developing skills in technical aspects of the position, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and abilities to adapt to change.  

Having an evidence-based competency assessment system in place also is an opportunity for the annual performance evaluation to be a more dynamic experience for both the staff and manager.  Evidence of competencies attained goes well beyond the typical evaluation form that indicates a task or skill was “completed” or not.  In the competency assessment system, the staff member is encouraged to seek out evidence to verify stages of competencies. In addition to a self-assessment, evidence may include: (1) peer reviews; (2) case studies; (3) QI monitors; (4) presentations; and (5) return demonstrations.  

The time is now for health care organizations to take to heart the important role evidence-based competency assessment plays in improving the delivery of high quality care to our clients!

Register for a free webinar about Creating Competency Programs for Post-Acute Care.

About the Author

Linda Hollinger-Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN – Vice President 

Linda Hollinger-Smith, Mather Lifeways Institute on AgingDr. Hollinger-Smith is a doctorally prepared registered nurse focusing her research in gerontology, workforce development, and quality improvement. She has more than 28 years of experience working with older adults in senior living, long-term care settings, in the community, and in acute care settings in various staff and managerial positions. Her past positions include Assistant Dean of the Rush University College of Nursing, Nursing Director of the Rush Primary Care Institute, and Associate Chairperson of the Department of Adult Health Nursing at Rush University College of Nursing.  She completed a doctorate degree in gerontology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She also holds faculty appointments at both Rush University Medical Center and the University of Illinois.

She has served as Principal Investigator for multiple national research projects, targeting nursing workforce development and retention, falls reduction, and caregiver support issues. She has published over 60 journal articles, book chapters and research abstracts and has presented on national and international levels on various topics related to aging. In her current position, Dr. Hollinger-Smith leads a team of applied researchers and staff responsible for developing and expanding the Mather LifeWays applied research agenda. Her expertise areas include:

  • Workforce development and retention
  • Senior living trends
  • Satisfaction and market surveys
  • Gerontological nursing education
  • Caregiver support and resource
  • Resilience and older adults

Learn about HealthStream's solutions for Post-Acute Care.

The Importance of Sincere Rewards and Recognition in Healthcare


This blog post continues our series of patient experience Best Practices from BLG, a HealthStream Company. Every week we will share information from BLG that demonstrates their expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions BLG has identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

SINCEREHealthcare Reward and Recognition Training

A reward should reflect a genuine expression of appreciation. Insincerity is easily perceived when the words and body language are inadequate. Moreover, because the recognition comes across as shallow, it’s ineffective. The process of reward and recognition
should never be viewed as a chore.

A tried and true way to express sincere recognition is to be specific. Don’t just tell employees
that they did a good job – instead, be specific about what was good. If you don’t put thought into the recognition that you are giving, tying it specifically to the individual’s deserving behavior, the effect may be the opposite of what you intended. Offer detailed and relevant praise.

Examples of Sincere Praise Statements

Reconsider saying: “Great job on the report.” 

Better way to say it: “Your careful attention to detail made your report excellent. The facts were clear and the material was error-free. Great job!” 

Reconsider saying: “We should all thank John for his great teamwork.”

Better way to say it: “John, you consistently go the extra mile when you are involved in a project. Without your commitment to obtaining the information we needed, and staying on task, the team would have been unable to complete the project on time. On behalf of the team - thank you, John.” 

Reconsider saying: “You did a good job with the Communication Boards.”

Better way to say it: “That you put quality into everything you do is obvious when I look at our Communication Board. The material is  so well organized and colorful. You worked hard to make it appealing and draw everyone’s attention. Good job!”

Ways to Rethink How You Express Compliments about Work Performance

Being sincere with praise requires some forethought, obviously. It calls for leaders to be proactive in looking and listening. Look for reward and recognition opportunities by focusing on what makes your department excel. Is it teamwork, cooperation, hands-on patient care, fiscal watchfulness? Who can you recognize for their efforts to make the department shine?

Listen to the employees with whom you work. Are they praising someone for a job well-done,
talking about an individual who went the extra mile? Let your employees help identify your means of sincerity in recognizing individuals.

Starter Phrases for a New Way to Talk to High-Performing Employees

Here are some phrases of sincerity that ring true. Embellish them by adding the specifics of the employee’s behavior.

  • Your dedication contributes to our success by...
  • The service that you provided exceeded expectations when...
  • We recognize and sincerely appreciate your efforts that...
  • You took the time, and that made all the difference when...
  • You consistently go the extra mile by...
  • Your careful attention to detail contributed to the project’s success by...
  • You have a winner’s attitude that is demonstrated by...
  • That you put quality into everything you do is obvious when....
  • Your ability to listen carefully to what others are saying creates....
  • Your commitment to service excellence inspires others when...

Reward and Recognition Training

BLG teaches key skills, approaches, techniques, and best practices to help leaders effectively reward and recognize high performers. Elements of this training include how to harvest reward and recognition opportunities, thank you notes as a key engagement tool, formal recognition programs that support a patient focused culture, and informal methods that create a custom, individualized approach to thanking team members in your employee family.

About BLG, a HealthStream Company 

BLG provides Patient-Centered Excellence Consulting, where the patient is at the center of
everything we do. Our tools, tactics, and best practices are evidence-based and outcomes driven.  We provide custom, individualized coaching that produces measurable, sustainable increases in patient satisfaction, employee engagement, quality outcomes, and profitability.

Learn more about BLG products and services.

Five Questions You Should Ask About Your Healthcare Workforce


This blog post excerpts an article in the inaugural issue of HealthStream's Healthcare Workforce Advisor, our quarterly magazine designed to bring you thought leadership and best practices for developing the healthcare workforce.

Developing a workforce involves strategic planning and dedicated resources to create desired business and clinical outcomes. Given the issues faced by healthcare organizations today, a wide range of solutions is necessary to address their vast workforce development needs. Where do you begin? First, it is important to identify the challenges that are specific to your organization in order to determine what resources will best meet your needs. Knowledge is power, and HealthStream has developed the tools and partnerships necessary to assess where you are and to develop a plan to achieve your desired outcomes. Here are the questions you should ask yourself about your workforce.

Is Your Workforce Qualified?HealthStream Healthcare Workforce Advisor

In healthcare, being qualified means your people have valid licenses, maintain current certifications, keep upwith continuing education requirements, and have the knowledge, judgment, and demeanor to do their jobs.

Is Your Workforce Competent?

Competency means that your staff is able to effectively apply knowledge, skills, and judgment in real-world settings for desirable outcomes. In healthcare, a desirable outcome may be the difference between life and death, making competency essential to all care-providing organizations.

Is Your Workforce Engaged?

Being engaged means staff members feel connected to their work and organization, they are inspired by shared values to do their best work, and they stay with the organization while encouraging others to join. Highly engaged employees are more productive and more likely to continue working for you, even through challenging times.

Is Your Workforce Performing?

A highly performing workforce achieves desired results for their roles every day. Performance requires qualified, competent, and engaged people to show up and get things done correctly and consistently. Done correctly, the performance evaluation process will be a highly valuable and respected part of your culture.

Is Your Workforce Developing?

Developing your people means identifying the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of your team and applying resources to close the gaps, ensuring you have the next generation of leaders ready. Without a targeted staff development program, your organization will fail to realize the full value of your most valuable resource: your people. 

The full article discusses each of these attributes of a successful workforce and the kinds of tools healthcare organizations can use to make them a reality. Complete the form below to download this issue of Healthcare Workforce Advisor.

Subscribe to Healthcare Workforce Advisor.

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