Collaborative Physician Engagement

I entitled this post “Collaborative Physician Engagement” when I learned that the Advisory Board’s Annual Health Care CEO Survey of 157 C-suite executives rated engaging physicians in cost and quality improvements as their best opportunity to improve performance. Survey respondents were twice as likely to rate physician engagement as their best opportunity to improve performance compared with other topics — nearly 90 percent of hospital and health system executives reported an interest in physician engagement.

We have seen it [physician engagement] emerge the top strategic priority in the shift to population health,” said Chas Roades, chief research officer at The Advisory Board Company. Our research underscores that physician engagement is imperative to an organization’s successful transition to value-based care models. Driving fundamental and sustainable changes to providers’ business model is impossible without buy-in from the clinicians on the frontlines of patient care.

Collaborative Physician Engagement: Definition and Rationale

At a retreat that I facilitated, a c-suite executive defined collaborative physician engagement as a deliberate process to bring physicians and other stakeholders together to continuously improve care and the patient experience. These actions fit well with the IHI Triple Aim to improve population health and the patient experience, as well as to cut expenses.

In Collaborative Physician Engagement, CEO Chris van Gorder made the following points about the value of regular, authentic collaborative physician engagement:

 Engagement has not been an issue for us. Maybe it is because we have a physician leadership cabinet that we established 14 years ago where all of our elected chiefs and vice chiefs meet with us monthly to work on all the issues affecting the healthcare system. Technically the physician leadership cabinet is an advisory body but I would argue that it is the second most powerful organization at Scripps, second only to the board of trustees. And that was easy. That was just bringing them in and transparently sharing information. Engagement is not just a word. You have to give physicians decision-making authority. If they have the same information, they make the same decisions we would have made but they make it faster. I feel better about the decisions in the end because I know that the clinical needs of the patients are being met. They aren’t just business decisions being made. They are joint decisions.

What do you think? As always, I welcome your input to improve healthcare collaboration where you work. Please send me your comments and suggestions for improvement.

Kenneth H. Cohn © 2015, all rights reserved Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this content. I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.

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