One point for the pediatric receptionist who remembered to give a little boy a bright blue rhino sticker on his way out this time.
Two points for another member of the staff who remembered to email Patient Linda, who missed two consecutive chiropractic sessions. Oh, and helping to properly dispose of tech equipment every few months is worth 20 points, namely because no one ever wants to do it.
You can gamify practice operations by attributing points to some of your team’s most easily forgotten or least desirable periodic tasks. But it’s not enough to offer chips or some other sort of token. Earning points should be incentivized, and here’s how to do it.
Rate tasks in your practice from least to most desirable. More desirable tasks are given fewer points – we don’t want your staff taking advantage of your generosity. Then, you assign point values to each task. You should take the difficulty of a given task into account here as well.
For instance, phone reminders may be unpopular, but they’re not more difficult to carry out than spending hours on the phone with payers or re-alphabetizing files.
With that said, it’s no surprise brands like Nike and organizations a la Khan Academy are using gamification to engage consumers, students and employees. But it’s not a panacea either.
Let your employees have a say, too, because poor gamification design leads to failure. You don’t want them to feel you just quantified their work tasks for either your gain or just to make their lives miserable. A huge part of doing so is addressed below.
Set up a rewards system. There are really two kinds of rewards here. For starters, you’re incorporating the usual kind of incentivization that typically comes to mind – 10 points wins you a t-shirt, 50 points gets you lunch, etc.
“The points have to revolve around goals,” said Shawn Sprockett, founder of Semio, a web-based learning platform in the professional training sphere that teaches through choose-your-own-adventure videos.
“So if your goal is for people to memorize information like procedures, protocols, and schedules, then the points may revolve around test scores,” he added.
And what if you heighten the stakes a bit? If you incorporate benchmarks for leveling up or a scenario in which a staff member gains a rank within the game-based system after accruing a given number of points, you’ll find it’s easy for your staff to further adhere to your game-based system. If you only provide extrinsic rewards for points earned, you minimize the powerful effect of intrinsic motivation.
“Leveling up makes people feel good,” said Sprockett.
Tracking! Not only can your medical practice set up a points-based, incentivized system for task completion, but you should be tracking progress. Where does it succeed? What shortcomings can you spot? Even a simple spreadsheet will do.
Not only does this help the system qua system, but tracking pitfalls can help with training new employees. Inserting new hires into an existing system can “open up a dialogue for veterans to teach newcomers and for collaboration,” says Sprockett.
So while veterans at your practice can welcome newer employees, the latter can demonstrate their adeptness at performing new tasks and possibly level up within the system on a more public platform. Suddenly it becomes easier to evaluate new employees.
“In this sense, gamification is better for recruitment than anything else,” added Sprockett.
But after all, this, keep in mind that gamification isn’t for everyone. The A-types at your practice may even opt out, seeing as they’re the type to never leave a used catheter behind, so to speak. And it’s also not some sort of quick fix. It can offer a temporary boost at your practice, but it needs to be kept fresh.
But some of us procrastinate, and gamification can be a very effective way to set and meet goals, which sharpens output and, of course, improves efficiency, profitability, and a bunch of other words that end in ‘y’.
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