Blog Post

Trying to engage your physicians with limited resources? Here's how to prioritize.

July 27, 2018

    Last fall, we asked CMOs across our membership to share their top priorities for the coming year. Among both system and facility leaders, a single issue rose to the #1 spot: physician engagement. This comes as no surprise, given the positive impact that strong physician engagement has on provider burnout, patient experience, care quality, and organizational costs.

    Get 7 data-driven benchmarks to redefine your physician engagement strategy

    Yet, physician engagement is by no means a new priority—most organizations have been working on it for years. So why the renewed emphasis in 2018?  It comes down to resource constraints that make it increasingly difficult for leaders to turn the dial on engagement. Many organizations simply lack the bandwidth and infrastructure necessary to drive engagement at scale. And when organizations do aim their efforts across the entire medical staff, the impact is often too diffuse to make a difference.

    3 steps to scope your physician engagement strategy

    That's why our approach to physician engagement calls for relentless, disciplined scoping. The aim is to maximize the return on the limited resources you do have to dedicate to physician engagement.

    1. Assess your available resources

    Take an honest assessment of the time and resources your organization can dedicate to physician engagement. More than likely, resource constraints will dictate that you can't focus equally on all physicians and will need to prioritize where to concentrate your efforts.

    2. Identify high-priority physicians

    We recommend two filters to determine which physicians to prioritize:

    • First, review your organization's physician engagement scores to identify specialties with the lowest engagement. This filter will give you the subsets of physicians with the greatest improvement opportunity.

    • Second, identify the specialties that are the most critical to your organization's strategy, both today and in the future. For example, if your organization aims to adopt more risk-based contracts, you may decide to prioritize primary care physicians (PCPs), since PCPs are critical stakeholders to succeed under risk.

    3. Pursue a limited number of high-impact practices

    After identifying your target group, focus your resources on initiatives that will have the greatest effect on physician engagement. Using the Advisory Board's Physician Engagement Survey national database, we identified six drivers that physicians care most about—and that represent the greatest national opportunity for improvement:

    • The actions of the organization's executive team reflect the goals and priorities of participating clinicians;

    • The organization is well-prepared to meet the challenges of the next decade;

    • Physicians view this organization as a strategic partner in navigating the changing healthcare landscape;

    • The organization is open and responsive to physicians' input;

    • The organization recognizes clinicians for excellent work; and

    • Physicians are interested in physician leadership opportunities at the organization.

    Despite being a short list, any one of these drivers could easily consume all of your time and resources. So our research team worked with organizations that have managed to move the dial on each driver—without outsized investments—to identify tactics that maximize engagement efforts.

    To see what we learned, sign up to attend our 2018 Physician Executive Council Meeting. We'll share 15 best practices you can implement—despite resource constraints—to start driving physician engagement today.

    Reserve your Seat

    Attendance is complimentary for Physician Executive Council members, and this event is most relevant to system and facility CMOs, CQOs, VPMAs, Chief Clinical Officers, and other senior executives with oversight for their organization's efforts to reduce care variation and improve physician engagement.


    Win physician buy-in in 15 minutes or less

    This 30-minute webconference will teach participants how to effectively win buy-in from key physician stakeholders by proactively addressing emotional reactions to change. We will talk about physician issues specifically, but this skill is universally applicable for any leader advancing a change initiative at their organization.

    Register Now

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