Engage Your Physician Leaders

 

Physician engagement is not just at the top or the organization and not just needed in hospitals. Physician leaders need to be engaged at many points and positions across all of today’s healthcare delivery systems and healthcare models.

Physician leaders are pervasive throughout the organization and need to be considered, engaged and developed in different ways.

Understanding Some of the Specific Challenges of Physician Leaders

The below considerations and approaches are specific to each physician leadership situation but should be incorporated into a comprehensive, coordinated plan for ensuring the long-term success of physicians as critical, engaged partners in the organization. Note: The below situational examples do not represent a comprehensive list of all physician leadership roles and may differ from company to company.

Regional Leaders

The situational challenge is that these leaders are:

  • Managing or representing all clinical operations, all physician opinions/feedback, issues/concerns, and viewpoints.
  • Accountable to both the regional executives and also sometimes national headquarters executives.
  • Spending the majority of their time focused on administrative functions but they may also see patients 1-2 days per week.

Harness the Horsepower:

  • Create co-leadership parings with all administration senior executive leaders.
  • Create a seat for these co-leaders to have equal standing and decision making rights at all company executive meetings.
  • Provide direct access or control of data analysis, financial and reporting resources for both physicians and administrative information.
  • Provide strategic, financial, speaking or other personal skills training.

 

Clinical Leaders by Practice Area

The situational challenge is that these leaders are:

  • Moving from being a clinical practitioner to now providing leadership to their peers.
  • Responsible for operational accountabilities and metrics management.
  • Spend the majority of their time in clinical practice and perform administrative functions 1-2 days per week.

Harness the Horsepower:

  • Schedule meetings with the CFO to share operational insights, link operational measures to the strategic plan and agree on the critical leading and lag operation measures.
  • Create pairings or co-leadership with appropriate cross-organizational executives.
  • Create a seat for these leaders to have equal standing and decision making rights at all appropriate cross-company or end-to-end operational meetings, councils or committees.
  • Provide financial training regarding overall company measures of performance and the budgeting/forecasting process.
  • Provide training to develop time management related to new responsibilities and to develop interpersonal, presentation, analysis and conflict resolutions skills.
  • Provide understanding and patience for the time that it takes to transition into this role and then to become effective leaders.
  • Provide access to or control of data analysis, financial and reporting resources for both physicians and administrative information.

 

Clinical Leaders by Facilities

The situational challenge is that these leaders are:

  • Responsible for physicians in their area of practice at a particular location. (For example, Primary Care Lead Physician at one facility location, Medical/Surgical Specialty Lead Physicians at one facility location, Imaging Lead Physician at one facility location).
  • Providing leadership to their peers.
  • Spending the majority of their time in their clinical practices. Also, they can perform administrative functions less than 1 day per week and attend mostly evening administrative meetings.

Harness the Horsepower:

  • Hold “town hall” style meetings for the collection of key ideas for improvement and issues from these leaders regarding productivity or other physician concerns. Capture, prioritize and address each key improvement idea or issue. These meetings can give a sense of inclusion across the distributed locations and roles.
  • Block schedules at various times to enable some administrative time to prevent overwhelming commitments and to give these leaders management time.
  • Provide training to develop interpersonal, conflict resolution, time management, issue management, escalation and communication skills.

 

Clinical Leaders By Service Type and Dispersed Locations (i.e. Home Care, Skill Nursing, Urgent Care)

The situational challenge is that these leaders are:

  • Responsible for a particular location or have no particular location at all. For some, there is constant travel.
  • At various locations distributed across a wide geography.
  • Responsible for areas that can often be a source for high-cost cases.

Harness the Horsepower:

  • Provide the efficient support through strong, integrated, mobile technology that provides information and connection to the organization.
  • Elicit continual feedback for improvement into the remote work processes because these types of processes are very prone to inefficiencies.
  • It is critical to determine how best to include and connect these leaders to the organization and its strategic goals. Discuss the best forums to create this connection and obtain insights from the physicians involved.

The Bottom Line:

A comprehensive, coordinated, intentional plan for ensuring the long-term success of physicians as equal partners in the organization is critical to improving the quality of care and executing more successfully.

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