Hospital execs: Strive for physician engagement to lower costs, boost quality

Hospitals aiming to deliver high-quality, low-cost care are turning to predictive care paths, which can chart every distinct facet of care for a particular diagnosis or disease. But in order for predictive care paths to improve outcomes and lower costs, healthcare executives need physician engagement, according to a column published today in Hospitals & Health Networks Daily.

Hospital leaders must get physicians to stop thinking of predictive care paths as "cookie-cutter," "one-size-fits-all" medicine and take certain measures to get doctors on board.

For example, executives must identify which physicians should be in charge of developing the predictive care paths, such as those committed to outcomes, quality of care, and research, write Michael Abrams, Dana Hage, and Eric Abrams of St. Louis-based management consulting firm Numerof & Associates Inc. Also, hospital leaders need to engage physicians that can influence their peers and whose disapproval could cause staff resistance to achieve organization-wide physician buy-in.

When engaging physicians, hospital executives need to explain that predicative care paths are designed to guide decision-making and measure outcomes, not threaten their professional knowledge.

But engagement can't stop once the care path is developed. Hospital leaders need to continue engaging physicians in the implementation, monitoring, and review of the care paths, according to Abrams, Hage and Abrams. By doing so, hospital leaders can make sure the new models are efficiently executed and constantly improved to help the organizations provide improved care at reduced costs.

For more information:
- read the H&HN Daily article