Healthcare News & Insights

4 steps to a better relationship between doctors and hospital execs

Due to the shift toward value-based reimbursement, it’s important that healthcare execs and doctors work together to achieve the best outcomes so hospitals can continue to survive and thrive. But in many cases, hospital administrators might not be on the same page as clinical staff.

78460610Because physicians and other clinical staff members are on the front lines when it comes to care delivery, it may be hard for them to understand the importance of quality-based initiatives that could lead to greater clerical responsibility on their part, including improving documentation of patient encounters or relying on electronic health records (EHR) technology.

And that can lead to unwanted tension between doctors and execs.

Minimizing this tension is critical to success toward meeting value-driven goals. Here are a few ways you can improve the relationship between physicians and administrators, and get everyone on board with quality-improvement initiatives, adapted from a post by Dr. Marc-David Munk, chief medical officer of a healthcare system in Massachusetts, on his Considering American Healthcare blog:

  1. Keep doctors focused on what they do best – patient care. While EHRs and other reform-related changes may increase the clerical or administrative burden on providers, it’s important to keep these duties from overshadowing their main job. That way, they can focus on giving patients the best care possible, which puts your hospital in a better position to meet quality benchmarks.
  2. Pick technology with clinicians in mind. Any upgrades or changes to your hospital’s EHR or software – including implementing an entirely new system – should make doctors’ jobs easier in the long run, not more complicated. Systems developed and maintained by clinicians typically are your best choice.
  3. Make sure physicians are represented when the big decisions are made. Doctors will feel better about any pending changes if they know their voices were heard during the decision-making process. Have someone present in meetings who understands what your doctors go through when providing care to patients on a daily basis.
  4. Seek feedback continually. After you’ve made any changes, encourage physicians to speak their mind about how the initiative is progressing, and listen to what they have to say. If any problems surface, take quick steps to address them, minimizing any bureaucratic red tape in the process.

What your doctors should do

Treating doctors as peers is critical to successful collaboration between execs and clinical staff. But the relationship isn’t just a one-way street.

Execs should emphasize that they expect enthusiasm, and a willingness to work hard and make changes, from clinical staff. Administrators should also get doctors to think about the shift toward value-based care, treating it as an essential part of care delivery instead of a goal to meet for qualify incentives.

A small shift in thinking from doctors and execs will go a long way toward improving your hospital’s quality of care, which will make a positive impact on your facility’s bottom line.

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