6 steps to better physician-administrator cooperation

In today's healthcare environment, where hospital executives increasingly come from non-healthcare backgrounds, it's more important than ever for physicians and administrators to find common ground, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

For instance, clinic team meetings no longer typically exclude the physicians, writes Lisa Goren, program director for physician alignment and engagement at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon. Physicians increasingly take executive roles above chief medical officer, she writes, and the industry creates more and more programs designed to integrate physicians into the business side of operations.

However, Goren writes, many of these efforts focus disproportionately on pressuring physicians to catch up rather than giving administrators the physicians' point of view. "Most physicians would welcome the opportunity to open up their world to administrators who demonstrate sincere levels of compassion and curiosity toward the daily pressure placed upon the average physician," she writes.

Physicians and administrators can build strong partnerships through six strategies, Goren writes:

  1. Create rules of engagement: To foster the trust necessary for collaborative decision-making and problem-solving, physicians and administrators must use methods such as compacts, team agreements and shared governance councils to establish ground rules.

  2. Acknowledge and celebrate successes: Marking positive milestones helps strengthen physician-administrator relationships, Goren writes, provided the celebrations are meaningful.

  3. Center meetings on patient care: Care delivery, not individual preference or precedence, should be the focus of every meeting, and desire to minimize care disruptions will force physicians and administrators to explore various means of connecting with one another.

  4. Make sure everyone measures the same data: To make sure goals and successes have a common definition, physicians and administrators should establish, discuss, track and highlight three to five key metrics, according to Goren.

  5. Build momentum from the ground up: Administrators and physicians should start with small, more manageable projects, and use the resultant momentum from quick wins to build toward larger initiatives.

  6. Spread the word of successes: Regular updates on successes or course corrections will "create contagious and positive energy that will help cultivate more champions," Goren writes.

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