From the hospital C-suite, physician engagement is commonly interpreted as ensuring clinicians are adhering to the strategic and operational objectives of the organization. Yet, engagement embodies so much more, as anyone who has taken vows of matrimony can attest.
Inherent in any interpretation and commonly overlooked by administrators is the physician understanding and expectation of this arrangement. Perhaps at no other time has there been less certainty within the medical community regarding the physician place within the evolving landscape. Specifically, this includes compensation, practice model, employment, lifestyle, and most importantly control.
Of course, how do you codify these expectations? No one relishes the thought of a prenuptial agreement. However, establishing clear qualitative and quantitative metrics that measure success ensures a shared vision for execution of and if necessary extrication from the agreement. It is more than RVU's or account receivables. It is about commitment to the community, participation in performance improvement, mentoring, continued education and collaborative efforts across the continuum of care. Transparent cooperative dialogue can serve as a foundation and model for both defining these metrics and building required trust over time.
Like any marriage, physicians are seeking a "relationship" that provides security, stability and opportunities for growth as each party evolves. Hospital executives who can not only speak in these terms but truly engage will find that physician alignment naturally follows.
Michael R. Udwin, MD, FACOG
National Medical Director