Leading Evidence-Based Innovation at Your Facility, Part 1: Selling Your Idea
By Kelly Daley, PT, MBA
So ... you're treating a patient and while researching the literature to inform your decisions, you've found a clinical practice guideline or other evidence. The evidence looks very promising, and you see the possibilities for positive results.
So, now what?
Well, now you get to lead an innovative systematic change in patient care! By implementing a systematic program at your facility, you affect more than the patient in front of you, you touch all of the targeted patient population coming to you. This is sometimes called “quality improvement” or "translation of evidence."
But, frankly, for some us, those terms sound vague or tedious. Instead, let's just call it impact.
The whole idea of making a big systematic change—making an impact—can seem daunting. And sometimes, it is. But it's also doable. Here are the basic steps to take.
Pitch your proposal.
Leadership needs buy in to your idea, since it will require your facility's support and participation. What needs to be included in the pitch to your leaders? Consider the concept of value—basically the amount of improvement, per dollar spent, in outcomes your patients care about.
If you're the mathematical type, the formula would be value = quality outcome/cost. (And if you want a more detailed look at this concept, check out this article from the New England Journal of Medicine). If you can convince your leadership that your proposal is a way to significantly improve outcomes and reduce cost, chances are you have a winner!
Strengthen that pitch by looking for "fit."
Your evidence might be great, with a great potential for value, but does that value proposition apply to your particular facility? That's a question leadership will asking, so your best bet is to provide them with the answers. To increase the chances of your proposal getting the green light, be sure you can answer "yes" to these questions:
- Does your targeted evidence or guideline speak to a large percentage of your facility's patient population?
- Is the care outlined currently feasible for your setting and staffing?
- Are there low costs or losses involved in setting up a formal pilot?
Be sure to include a review of those issues in your pitch.
Once your leadership provides input and support, see if one of those leaders is willing to be your formal sponsor and champion. It's worth remembering that a leadership mentor and sponsor can reap some benefit by becoming a champion of an initiative that keeps care at your facility high-value.
Stay tuned for Part 2: How to Measure Your Success.
Kelly Daley is clinical informatics program coordinator for Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Explore other posts from the "Narrow the Gap" series.