5 Keys to Finding 'Physician Champions'

Debra Shute, September 28, 2017

Physician executive panelists at ATLAS 2017 discussed what does and doesn't work when it comes to guiding clinicians through change.

Smart healthcare leaders recognize the importance of bringing clinical leaders to the table when navigating any type of change that affects their work, whether it be an IT implementation or new initiative.

But how should administrators identify clinical leaders? That was a key question posed to panelists at the 2017 ATLAS (Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium) conference in Boston September 19 - 20.

"We really love the term 'physician champion,'" noted moderator Erin Jospe, MD, chief medical officer for patient-access company Kyruus, which sponsored the event.

"We're also not really good at explaining what the exact role and responsibility of a champion is, [and understanding] that there's actual clinical capital that's going to get expended, that there's some element of risk in asking somebody to be a representative in that capacity," she said.

Related: How to Spot a Promising Physician Leader

Minimizing these risks comes down to identifying physician champions with specific qualities, said Chi-Cheng Huang, MD, associate chief medical officer at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, MA.

1. Respect

The first question, according to Huang, is, "Do they have the respect of the physicians and administration?"

Being regarded with legitimacy and credibility by fellow physicians doesn't necessarily mean that physician leaders maintain clinical activity, the panelists noted, but it can help.

"It shows them that I'm under the same pressures under quality metrics and performance as them," said M. Alex Schiaffino, MD, FAAFP, medical director for the access center of Summa health System in Ohio.

Debra Shute

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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