In our September 2015 Intelligence Report, hospital and health system leaders indicated that physician engagement is the most difficult aspect of aligning physicians. HealthLeaders Media Council members discuss ways they have succeeded in improving physician engagement.
This article first appeared in the March 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
President and CEO
Grady Health System
The No. 1 initiative we've taken to improve physician engagement is addressing and resolving the operations pain points physicians felt were interfering with their ability to be efficient in their work. Our physicians felt they were having to create workarounds in order to work through the system, so we extended efforts on operational process improvement using Lean and Six Sigma to streamline the processes that the physicians touch most, such as scheduling, electronic medical record optimization, and reducing the number of steps physicians have to take to access patient data.
The second area we've improved is communication with the medical staff by keeping them in the loop and involving them more in governance of the organization. We've created more positions for physicians on our board of directors and added senior executive rounding alongside physicians so that there's better communication between our docs and upper management.
We've also implemented yearly physician engagement surveys. We make it a point to ensure that the physicians know that their opinion is heard, as we create action plans for the organization based on the survey results.
I think physicians respond best to an environment where they can do the best work possible—the work they enjoy doing—with the operational and bureaucratic barriers that sometimes frustrate them eliminated.
Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.