Posted October 21, 2016

Physician Engagement, Alignment and Leadership

Physician engagement is top-of-mind for all health leaders. This Insight - part three of our five-part series of reports from this year's Studer Conferences Toronto - highlights the perspectives and recent work of prominent physician leaders who were featured at the Toronto event.

Physicians play an integral role in the implementation of Evidence-Based LeadershipSM, the framework of alignment and accountability that was the focus of part two of our series. Physicians also are instrumental in successful health system integration, the topic of our next installment.

Gurpreet Dhaliwal MD, professor of medicine, University of California San Francisco, was a keynote speaker at the Toronto conference. He delivered an upbeat talk exploring "what goes on in a doctor's mind" and arguing for a model of practice in which physicians "work in teams, love their jobs and are concerned with measurement and outcomes". Today's growing trend toward performance measurement and pay-for-performance funding was a key theme. "High-value care has a number of options" according to Dr. Dhaliwal, "but it is no longer an option." He asked delegates to consider a bottom-up approach to measurement, including engagement of physicians and other frontline staff in choosing the metrics.

"High-value care has a number of options" according to Dr. Dhaliwal, "but it is no longer an option."

Dr. Dhaliwal also led a session probing the practical details of providing feedback for both clinical medicine and "dashboard medicine". Like many conference speakers, he advocated starting with the why - something intrinsic to the values of care providers - then moving to the what, and the more flexible and organic how.

Physician engagement and alignment was also addressed by two doctors who serve as senior leaders at St. Joseph's Health Care London. Gillian Kernaghan MD, president & CEO, and Robin Walker MD, integrated vice president, medical affairs and medical education, profiled several integrated initiatives, ranging from communication and recognition to talent management and leader development, that are part of a carefully crafted physician engagement strategy that is fully aligned with organizational goals. Results include a 20 percent jump in physician engagement scores from 2011 to 2015. St. Joseph's Health Care London recently won a Studer Group Award for Excellence in Physician Engagement for achieving and sustaining high physician engagement scores in recent years.

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