Only 20% of physicians are engaged with leadership, survey shows

While physician engagement is low, there are ways hospitals and health systems can better link clinicians to their workplaces, according to athenahealth's 2016 Physician Leadership and Engagement Index.

For the survey, athenahealth collected responses in January 2016 from more than 2,000 practicing physicians.

The company asked respondents several statements to determine engagement, such as, "My organization inspires me to go above and beyond what is required"; "I am very likely to be working for my current organization three years from now"; and "I would recommend my organization to a friend or relative to receive care," Jessica Sweeney-Platt, with athenahealth, writes of the survey.

She said respondents ranked these statements on a scale of 1 to 6, with a 6 being "strongly agree" and a 1 being "strongly disagree." Athenahealth considered engaged employees those who answered 6 for at least two of the questions and no less than a 5 for all three questions, she said.

Here are six things to know.

1. The survey found only 20 percent of physicians are engaged.

2. Physician engagement varied with gender. Twenty-two percent of male physicians are engaged compared to 16 percent of female physicians, according to the survey.

3. Physician engagement also varied based on clinicians' workplace. Thirty-two physicians in physician-owned, independent medical groups or practices are engaged compared to 17 percent of those in hospital- or health system-owned groups, according to the survey.

4. The survey also found engagement is lowest among primary care and hospital-based physicians. Twenty-seven percent of procedural specialty physicians are engaged compared to 23 percent of pediatricians and 18 percent of hospital-based physicians.

5. Additionally, the survey showed a correlation between satisfaction with leadership and engagement. Seventy-four percent of engaged physicians said they were "very satisfied" with their leadership.

6. In her article, Ms. Sweeney-Platt noted multiple opportunities for physician engagement improvement, such as "develop[ing] high-quality physician leadership" and "build[ing] trust between physician and non-physician leaders." Read more here.  


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