Everyone with a title of manager or higher working in Spectrum’s revenue cycle department was required to obtain the certification of their choice, Assenmacher said. They had one year to complete it, with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2020.
Knowing how much work it takes to get certified, Assenmacher carefully crafted messaging to ensure staff understood why they were being asked to do it. She also pulled a report each week to see who had received a certification and celebrated each time someone new did. By keeping the message positive, Assenmacher was able to keep people invested and excited instead of overwhelmed or anxious about taking the certification exam.
“Continuous learning is essential to success in any career. We get really excited as leaders when somebody joins the crew,” she said. “Team members were supporting each other, rallying around each other to get their certifications. There was palpable energy across the team as the number of certifications continued to grow each week leading up to the December deadline.”
That support from leadership and peers was crucial as the deadline approached, as some were struggling with the material and many had to dust off old study and test-taking skills. Staff held “lunch and learn” sessions to study together and share their thoughts about course content.
The process of getting certified en masse also led to people connecting with colleagues they typically don’t interact with at work.
“Distant team members [were] pulled together to reach a common goal,” Assenmacher said. As a result, in addition to working toward certification, many staff members also expanded their networks.
By the end of 2020, revenue cycle staff at Spectrum Health had achieved 141 certifications. Assenmacher said she’s eager to see how performance improves as a result of this effort. She hopes the increased collective knowledge and tools eventually will lead to new ideas that improve performance.
“I think this is going to be that additional factor to push us over the edge [to hit our performance goals],” she said.