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Book Excerpt: Complete Guide to Physician Relationships

Kriss Barlow, for HealthLeaders Media, August 9, 2011

Use the data to first project their three-year practice plan. You can use data like age, admissions patterns, and tenure with the organization, as well as qualitative details like recent discussions regarding employment or group merger to get a sense of their ability to remain in this category.

Next, carve out those physicians that you perceive to be future leaders. You may find some in the “can’t afford to lose” category, whereas others may be active in practice building and may be splitting current referrals. Focus on these two categories first. Leaders should meet personally with these doctors—there will be a time for group discussion (primarily for action and implementation) later. If your organization has leaders who have been engaging with medical staff on a regular basis, use that group. If the physician relations team has a strong relationship with the doctors who have been selected, then ask them to facilitate the discussion with leadership.

The personal meeting has value at several levels. First, you are able to clearly discern the priorities of your vital medical staff members. Second, it sets the stage for shared development. And third, it is a proactive method of reaching in and framing a model for ongoing communication.

Even though some CEOs may say it is too time-consuming, if it is staged and well coordinated, it can actually be a time saver. Instead of fighting the rumor mill, create the message.

Quality
As it does in many conversations with physicians about priorities in today’s healthcare environment, quality bubbled at the top in this study as well.

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