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Engaged Physicians Can Put You in the Top Performing Tier of Hospitals

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At the Becker's Hospital Review Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 10, Laura Dollison, MD, FACEP, senior vice president of TeamHealth East, gave a presentation focused on engaging physicians to drive high level hospital performance. Dr. Dollison explained that 80 percent of the work accomplished in healthcare is done by physicians and gearing them towards a common goal in a hospital setting is essential to driving the facility's performance. The four keys to engaging physicians are vision, consensus, strong leadership and team effort.

1. Vision. "Vision should be understandable, embraceable and something physicians can be passionate about," said Dr. Dollison. Physicians need to understand that the vision is necessary and have the ability to operate with a level of autonomy within that vision. Hospitals should ensure that physicians will be fairly compensated while working towards this vision and protect them from bearing any risk, such as safety issues or malpractice.

2. Consensus. Consensus is reached when an entire organization commits to a vision. Organizational-wide support will be reached when a vision benefits the patients, physicians and hospital. To determine if consensus has been reached and every member of the hospital is working towards realizing the vision, it needs be measureable. Quality metrics, patient volume growth, finances, patient satisfaction and team participation all indicate whether or not a hospital's members have come together to move forward with a vision.

3. Strong leaders. A hospital needs strong physician leaders to build a cohesive team. A strong leader will have good communication skills, be well-respected within the hospital and have excellent team development skills. Leaders should be recognized amongst their peers. "If you recognize one person, you stimulate the others," said Dr. Dollison. Healthy competition fosters better results and team effort for the sake of common goals.

4. Teamwork. The starting point of team work is a group of clinically competent and patient-centric physicians. If physicians prioritize quality work and outcomes for the patients, the common goal becomes the patient experience.

"The ultimate goal for everyone involved is the better patient experience," said Dr. Dollison. As physicians become engaged in the environment they are working in, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and volume all see positive results.

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