The tangible benefits of physician engagement

Guest post by Barry Ronan, president and CEO of Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland

I am often asked how I engaged physicians as we were transitioning to value-based care delivery. After conferring with my executive team, I created the President's Clinical Quality Council, which proved to be an excellent way to engage our providers. I asked six physicians who were the early adopters on the medical staff if they would join the council. I then asked them to identify six of their colleagues whom they thought would be strong additions to the group. They provided me with a great list from which to choose, and the council was assembled.

These 12 physicians from a variety of disciplines joined me and the other members of the C-suite on a monthly basis to exchange ideas, concepts, issues and even complaints in an effort to better prepare the medical staff for value-based care delivery. All of the physicians were paid for their time and were exceedingly helpful in our meetings, as well as outside of the meetings by educating their colleagues on our transition from a volume-based care delivery model to one that was value-based.

The members served as the sounding board for innovative changes as we attempted to redesign care delivery. For example, they came up with the concept of Hot Topics, our quarterly education fair for physicians and advanced practice professionals where they interact with staff on a variety of subjects. Such topics have included the introduction of new information technology; ways to document differently; how to improve hand-offs between hospitalists and primary care physicians; ways to better address medication reconciliation; new approaches to reducing admissions and readmissions; and more.