Using the RACI Matrix to Drive Accountability

The Situation

Healthcare is in a state of disruption and while there are many problems, there are also many solutions. Part of the challenge of implementing solutions is the accountability to implement and execute on these solutions. 

It is not uncommon to have an initiative to improve a particular challenge or concern, however without a mechanism to hold leaders accountable for the successful execution of a solution things can quickly devolve. 

To state it even more clearly “talk is cheap ”, and for leaders execution is the hardest part of a good strategy. There are models to establish accountability by virtue of providing a structured approach that provides shared understanding. 

The RACI Matrix

As leaders in a chaotic healthcare environment the utilization of an accountability tool is a core competency. One easy-to-use accountability tool is the RACI Matrix, (or RACI Model/chart). R. A. C. I. is an acronym that stands for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed.

A RACI matrix is used to clearly define individual roles and authority levels for a project or group of people, in an easily consumed visual format. Any project with a multitude of people participating will suffer if roles are not clearly defined. People will get in each other’s way, or find themselves paralyzed with indecision, “Is this your job or mine?”

  • Responsible Means…
    The responsibility in RACI refers to the party that the task was directly assigned to. This responsible party can be a single person, or a whole team of people. The party who is responsible is the one who works to complete the task or provide the actual deliverable as listed.
  • Accountable Means…
    The accountable in RACI refers to the party that is in charge of delegation and review of the work being completed in the project. Their job is to ensure that the person/team responsible is aware of the project expectations and completes the expected work in the agreed-upon timeframe. Each individual task should have only one accountable person and no more.
  • Consulted Means…
    Individuals that are consulted are expected to provide feedback and input into the work and steps that are part of the project. They have a stake in the outcomes of a project because it could affect their current or future work. It is ideal to connect with and consult these stakeholders prior to starting a task to understand their needs. This is an opportunity to get feedback from several possible stakeholders.
  • Informed Means…
    Those who should be informed are often individuals who should know what’s going on because it may impact their work at a broader level. Senior and executive leaders often fall into this category and while they may be high-level decision-makers these are individuals that should not be pulled into the details and the weeds of a project. Doing so would only lead to bloat and slow down.

The RACI Takeaway

The RACI matrix is a tool meant to clearly define every team member’s role and authority level, with the goal of reducing redundancies and installing a system of accountability. Using a RACI matrix can also significantly reduce organizational bloat, and slowdowns since only the people who need to be working on something, are.