10 Ways to Keep Your Quality Improvement Team Motivated


Assembling a dedicated QI team is only half the challenge. Here's how to build and sustain their momentum.

Fam Pract Manag. 2018 Sep-Oct;25(5):23-26.

Author disclosures: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

Primary care practices have been tasked with reporting an increasing amount of quality data to satisfy requirements for insurance companies, accountable care organizations (ACOs), patient-centered medical home (PCMH) recognition, and various pay-for-performance programs. As a result, it is common for practices to have ongoing quality improvement (QI) mechanisms in place, with QI teams regularly creating new clinical or operational processes to meet the ever-changing requirements.

Having an established QI process can be a huge advantage to practices. However, sustaining the effort is a challenge. Given that the requirements of practice change and metrics reporting are unlikely to decrease in the foreseeable future, motivating QI teams for continued success is the next hurdle. We have learned some important lessons that we hope will help others keep their QI teams motivated.


Like many practices with competing priorities, we realized we needed to affirm our relationships with one another. Our practice of 35 faculty physicians, 15 residents, and 20 staff had split into clusters of people who knew very little about each other. To build camaraderie, leadership devoted five to 10 minutes of each QI meeting inviting team members to share a small fact about themselves. These “icebreakers” helped build a sense of connection between us and an appreciation of each other's talents and ideas.

In smaller practices, where clinicians and staff know each other better, this exercise may be unnecessary. Still, there is value in finding new ways of relating to one another. It is helpful in maintaining interest and committing to a collaborative, long-term, and systematic QI effort.


  • Sustaining a practice's quality improvement (QI) effort is challenging. Motivating team members to stay engaged is critical for continued success.

  • Include representatives from every area of the practice on the QI team, and proactively manage their schedules to allow time for QI team work.

  • To combat skepticism within the team, provide concrete examples of how the team's work will contribute to the overall vision and improve patient care.

  • Knowing when to seek input from others and when to take independent action is essential for QI team productivity.


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Dr. Heath and Dr. Clark are associate professors of family medicine at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J....

Dr. Howard is a research associate at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Author disclosures: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.


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