5 ways to boost hospital-physician engagement

The post-Affordable Care Act healthcare landscape makes physician engagement more important than ever for hospital leaders, and there are several concrete measures leaders can take to improve it, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.

Only 41.5 percent of physicians say they feel engaged with their organization, and it is incumbent upon hospitals to find strategies to improve these numbers. These strategies are a two-way street, writes Todd J. Kislak, chief development officer at the Austin, Texas-based physician services company Hospitalists Now Inc. Steps healthcare leaders can take to promote physician engagement include:

Keeping physicians in the loop on the hospital's financial and operational goals: Leaders should try to provide physicians with an administrative perspective on hospital objectives and leaders' plans for achieving them, Kislak writes.

Engaging the community: Healthcare leaders should promote readmission reduction by visiting area post-acute facilities and reviewing their programs, as well as making joint calls to the hospital's lines of referral, such as community primary care physicians and post-acute care providers.

Increase physicians' protected nonclinical time to improve engagement: Leaders should offer physicians more educational resources and training to increase their skills in fields such as healthcare economics, interpersonal communication and team-building.

Meanwhile, physicians can take several steps to improve the administrator-physician relationship as well, according to Kislak, including:

Familiarizing themselves with the company's goals for stakeholders: Learning their employer's broader goals, Kislak writes, will help them align their personal and professional objectives with them.

Concentrate work at one facility: Physicians who work with more than one facility's systems or staff should focus on one and minimize part-time work at others, according to Kislak.

A 2014 report found several other ways to improve physician engagement, including asking specific questions on the subject to determine engagement gaps and creating roadmaps for improvement, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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