4 pillars for physician engagement

As shifts in healthcare bring a more intent focus on team-based care and coordination, hospitals can boost physician engagement using a framework inspired by Max Weber, the "father of modern sociology," according to an article in Harvard Business Review.

In "Engaging Doctors in the Health Care Revolution," authors Thomas H. Lee, M.D., CMO at Press Ganey, and Toby Cosgrove, M.D., CEO of Cleveland Clinic, write about four main ways to engage doctors:

  1. Create a shared purpose. At a time when many physicians are uncertain about their future, it's important for hospitals to create common, organizational goals--to foster an environment that's better for patients. Hospital leadership must allow doctors to share stories of feeling proud and satisfied after a good patient outcome. "If physicians focus on their strengths and make them happen all the time, their weaknesses will become irrelevant," Lee told Becker's Hospital Review about the piece.

  2. Address economic self-interest. Offer financial incentives for reaching goals. However, hospitals must also consider non-financial incentives as well. "The reason I feel shared risk contracts aren't enough is because the goal of healthcare is not to reduce healthcare spending,"Lee told Becker's. "Money alone will not motivate physicians to go the extra mile to take superb care of patients."

  3. Leverage desire for respect. Use peer pressure to drive performance, the authors wrote. For example, at the Cleveland Clinic physicians are reviewed by their peers once a year, and each doctor only receives a one-year contract. Ratings and patient comments can also positively push doctors to perform better, according to Lee.

  4. Appeal to a sense of tradition. Healthcare organizations must establish distinct, constant standards, authors wrote. For example, staff members at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota must wear business attire every day, which serves as an elegant representation of the institution--meant to embody the "Mayo way of doing things," according to the authors.

"We see our organizations and other organizations sometimes falling short because they are only undertaking one or two of the categories in the framework, and there needs to be an organized approach to all four," Lee told Becker's.  

To learn more:
- here's the article
- read Becker's interview with Lee