Report Says Physician Engagement is Greatest Challenge for Healthcare Executives

by Skip Leavitt and Kimberly Buser, JHD Healthcare Partners

HealthLeaders recently published an insightful report on physician alignment, centering on strategies that require both risk and clinical integration. The article notes that physician engagement is the greatest need, and also the greatest challenge, for health system executives: it’s highest on the list of objectives, at 66 percent, and is most frequently cited as being the most difficult.
Some other key findings from the report include:
• The survey showed 66 percent of respondents engage physicians in quality initiatives. And, 24 percent say engagement is the most difficult part of aligning physicians. Physicians know that the goal is delivering higher-quality, lower-cost healthcare, but they are often resistant to change. A proactive change management plan is needed to help the physicians achieve their goals.
• Clinical integration is often cited as a mechanism for health systems to gain physician alignment. For employed physicians, 55 percent of health systems use clinical integration, and for independents, 52 percent, according to the HealthLeaders report. This movement can be an important way to align with physicians on common ground, but it cannot succeed in isolation.
• Executives are expecting a 48 percent growth in clinically integrated medical staff over the next three years – the same staff that are expected to provide a high level of coordination of care, but only if they are properly engaged.
The successful organizations we work with realize that to really engage physicians in the alignment effort, the entire health system needs a philosophical shift to a culture of inclusion. They also have a detailed action plan to guide the change process on all levels. We recommend that clients provide a flexible range of alignment options including employment, participation in clinically integrated networks, or through a “fabric” of supporting physician practice services.
Creating a plan for successful alignment often includes these practices:
• Implement a robust physician engagement and communication program that is bi-directional, inclusive and transparent
• Provide a robust clinical and non-clinical education program
• Establish physician support capabilities as good, or better than, what is available in the market elsewhere for them.
Lots of people talk about physician alignment. But let’s discuss how it can be one of your organization’s main strategies for success. Give JHD Healthcare Partners a call today at 972-220-0474.
To download your free copy of the HealthLeaders article, click here.

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