Practice Economics

Frontline Teams Needed for Rapidly Changing Healthcare


Healthcare is changing rapidly, shifting focus from volume to value, says Jeffrey Glasheen, MD, SFHM, lead author of the abstract “Developing Frontline Teams to Drive Health System Transformation.” To support this transformation, frontline clinical leaders need to be able to build and manage teams and care processes—skills not taught in traditional health professional training.

That’s why the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus launched the Certificate Training Program (CTP). The CTP curriculum focuses on enhancing team performance, leadership development, and process improvement. Participants meet weekly and receive support from a coach, a process-improvement specialist, and a data analyst.

Following the yearlong program, participants showed significant improvements in self-perception of leadership (37% to 75% able to manage change), quality improvement (23% to 78% able to use QI tools), and efficiency (31% to 69% able to reduce operational waste) skills. The participants’ work resulted in measurable improvements for the hospital: multiday reductions in length of stays, more than $200,000 in antibiotic cost avoidance for hospitalized pediatric patients, and improvement in pain and symptom scores for palliative care patients. Overall cost avoidance and revenue benefit exceeded $5 million.\

“We aimed to demonstrate that the work that we all need to accomplish—improving the value equation—can best be accomplished through the creation, development, and resourcing of high-functioning teams,” says Dr. Glasheen, an SHM board member. “Most important, we showed that a comprehensive training and development program aimed at creating, resourcing, and supporting high-functioning clinical leadership teams can facilitate academic medical centers’ efforts to pursue high-value care and achieve measurable improvement.”


1. Glasheen J, Cumbler E, Kneeland P, et al. Developing frontline teams to drive health system transformation [abstract]. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2015;10(suppl 2). Available at: Accessed January 28, 2016.

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