Effective communication is an important cornerstone for establishing rapport and building physician relations. A number of our Marketware clients have created a formal outreach or liaison role that actively builds relationships with targeted providers from key markets, practices or service lines. This role is often deputized as an extension of your C-suite and can be integral for engaging physicians in dialogue around quality, safety, physician satisfaction, and hospital service line development.
Many hospital leaders are able to connect with their physicians during Medical Staff Meetings – however, these meetings follow a specific agenda as required by medical staff bylaws. Identifying additional ways to share information and exchange ideas between physicians and system leadership can create a culture that encourages medical staff participation in decision making and planning related to operations.
Below are some tactics and tools you can use to strengthen communication and build physician relations.
Make sure to schedule time in the leadership team’s calendar for daily rounding on hospital units and physician areas. Building in this time ensure that you are both visible and accessible to the leadership team.
Identify opportunities in your organization to showcase transparency. This can be done with bulletin boards, newsletters, leadership reports during medical staff meetings, and by recommending one or more physicians to serve on hospital and health system boards.
Make an effort to be timely when communicating key messages and decisions or when closing the loop on identified concerns. This shows urgency and creates trust as you build physician relations.
Regularly share progress reports on identified barriers from most recent satisfaction and engagement surveys.
Find Engagement Opportunities
Build time the leadership team’s calendar for quarterly rounding in targeted practices. These can include informal physician leaders who are less engaged. Set a goal to take them out for a cup of coffee weekly with the goal of learning more about them, their practice and points of mutual interest that will reveal opportunities to re-engage them.
Involve the Physicians
Involving physicians in strengthening and developing their own medical community will help them feel more connected and build trust. Start by including them in new provider recruitment and engagement efforts.
Host Informal Meetings
Hosting an informal meeting over breakfast or lunch between your medical staff and leadership team can help build physician relationships in a neutral setting and strengthen your trust.
Plan Annual Retreats
Hold an annual or bi-annual retreat off-site with leadership, medical directors, department chairs and administrators. Removing the team from their usual workspace allows you to focus, collaborate, and engage with one another without distraction or interruption.
Hold Regular Discussions
While physician group administrators often have opportunities to connect with employed physicians, it can be helpful for the hospital’s administrative team to personally reach out to employed physicians 2-to-3 times a year to discuss operational issues or patient care needs that might influence future strategic or medical staff planning.
Leverage Your Outreach Team
Leverage your outreach team and Physician Relationship Manager (PRM) to collect feedback around key operational areas. Make sure to follow up with the outreach team so they are aware of how you used the feedback so they can share in any follow up visits.
Partner with your Material Management and Operating Room leadership to create a “Technology and Innovation Committee” that is tasked with reviewing new equipment and technology requests from multiple perspectives including: patient benefit, quality impact, financial impact, and strategic growth.
Actively recognize physician contributions to both the hospital and larger medical community to help the team feel acknowledged and provide positive reinforcement to keep the team motivated. Print out positive comments from HCAHPS surveys and highlight any providers mention name. Another recognition opportunity could be scheduling weekly time to write a handwritten note to a physician who has been actively engaged in some way and thank them for their input and the impact it has had on your organization or its patients.
What are some of the activities, tools or resources your organization uses to actively communicate and build relations between the c-suite and your physicians? Share in the comments or connect with me on Linkedin and start a conversation!
If you’d like to learn more about how you can leverage your PRM to collect feedback, schedule a free, customizable demo with one of our solution specialists here.