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by Yaneer Bar-Yam
Step II: Empower Workgroup Competition

When workgroups’ scores are in focus, both the scores and the performance they measure improve radically. Members of a workgroup will work together to improve their performance. They will innovate, and they will emulate improvements that they see others adopting.

Some hospital systems publicize their performance measures so that consumers can compare hospitals or systems. This won’t improve performance, however, because patients can’t always change providers, and because hospital systems don’t have much control over their practitioners’ performance.

Arranging hospital operations such that groups consistently work together, and then identifying these workgroups and entering them into a spirited, friendly competition based on well-designed performance metrics will lead to dramatic improvements in results.

Besides improving performance on the measures evaluated, workgroup competition will change the way efforts to control healthcare costs are directed. We will move from a limited focus on cutting healthcare costs to a broader focus on improving the healthcare system at lower cost.

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