Using Staff Turnover as an Opportunity to Re-engage in Quality Improvement

Katlyn M. Heidenthal, Physician Practice Coordinator (Practice Facilitator) with Health Quality Innovators, Viriginia Cooperative

“If you are trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”  -Michael Jordan


Staff turnover could be viewed as a barrier to quality improvement, but one practice that I work with in EvidenceNOW chose to use it as an opportunity to re-engage staff in the importance of the quality improvement work being done. When working with this practice, I reviewed their reports and workflows to see what the practice staff had already improved on and where work was still needed for improvements. For example, I worked with the practice staff to look at how they were working to improve pre-visit calls. Previously, we had trained and worked with one individual who mainly worked the front desk and needed a lot of coaching around how to ask certain clinical questions. Recently, this individual decided to move on from the practice. There are many times when staff turnover becomes a roadblock, especially with the need to train a new staff member. However, the office manager used this as an opportunity to transfer the pre-visit calls to the nursing staff, who already knew how to ask these clinical questions. We were able to use what most would see as a “setback” to actually accelerate our quality improvement work forward. Sometimes, a potential setback or roadblock is an opportunity to think creatively and re-engage with quality improvement goals.