Using Peer Pressure to Implement Value-Based Healthcare

As a physician, would you feel embarrassed if a colleague saw you attend to a patient without first washing your hands? Of course. However, would you feel embarrassed if you ordered an unnecessary test for that same patient? Probably not. When looking for strategies to implement value-based healthcare, peer pressure can be a key component to effect behavioral change and lead to more value-based thinking amongst physicians.

While peer pressure is not often thought about as a method for creating behavioral change in hospital settings, it has actually proven to be more effective than other traditional techniques. One way to introduce a form of peer pressure to implement value-based healthcare is to create a system where metrics or ratings geared towards value-based healthcare are shared either privately or publicly with the physicians in the hospital. Sharing this data can be a great motivator for behavioral change, as this form of peer pressure can drive physicians to perform more competitively – especially when they’re being evaluated against their peers.

However, while audits consisting of metrics and ratings can introduce behavioral change amongst physicians, combining audits with feedback from opinion leaders and role models can have an even more profound effect. Not only will physicians become aware of the areas where they may lag behind their peers, but they will also be given the information to make changes and provide better value-based healthcare to their patients. In order to effect the greatest change, the combination of audits and feedback should occur under the following conditions:

  • Baseline performance is poor, which leads to the opportunity for greater change
  • A trusted supervisor or colleague provides the feedback
  • The feedback is provided at least more than once
  • The feedback is communicated in both written and verbal forms
  • Attainable goals are provided along with a plan of action

While each one of these conditions may not exist in any given situation, it’s still important to recognize the value of peer pressure amongst physicians and the positive effect audits and feedback can have on the successful implementation of value-based healthcare in hospitals.

For more information about implementing value-based healthcare initiatives, please download our free whitepaper Understanding Value-Based Healthcare.

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