I recently had the honor to keynote the annual New England Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) meeting. My topic was “Changing the Landscape via Authentic Physician Engagement.” Four of the ten steps I covered to engage physicians to improve care include:
1) Encourage practicing physicians to articulate future clinical priorities
2) Include doctors who are users of radiology, anesthesiology, pathology, and emergency services to draw up contract specifications and monitor performance
3) Establish a hotline for process improvement issues
4) Have the Chief Information Officer and programmers round periodically with physicians
The most memorable discussion question was:
“How do we get doctors to talk with one another?”
I suggested that they build on times when doctors talked with one another and improved their practice environment. Having a physician champion in the practice convey the message may work better than having the message come from the practice manager. Hearing that team-building and conflict management are not taught in most medical schools, residencies, and fellowships prompted a participant to ask, “When will these vital communication skills be taught in medical school?”
A hospital CEO said, “We need to recognize our interdependence, that we all have a job to do to care for our communities.”
One of the best ways that I know to engage physicians is to talk with their staff members, the people doctors listen to, so that we can find out not only when they are free but also what drives them: what inspires and frustrates them, when are they so absorbed in what they are doing that they lose track of time, what about their families and outside interests makes them unique human beings. Perhaps by becoming more personal, we can depersonalize our differences and recognize our common heritage: that we chose careers in healthcare to make a difference in patients’ and families’ lives.
As always, I welcome your input to improve healthcare collaboration where you work.
Kenneth H. Cohn
© 2012, all rights reserved
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.
©2012 Healthcare Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.