Physician engagement is essential to a healthcare organization’s success. Group practices and health systems as well as hospitals and other facilities with high levels of physician engagement realize increases in significant areas—such as performance, efficiency, inpatient and outpatient referrals, and revenue—according to a study highlighted by the Gallup Business Journal.
However, driving engagement and keeping clinicians interested in taking part in meetings and associated initiatives has proved to be an enduring challenge for many practice managers, hospital administrators, and other healthcare executives. After all, doctors have demanding schedules and limited “spare” time. If they do not feel supported, getting them involved with plans to advance their engagement and looking forward to attending meetings are hurdles today’s healthcare leaders must clear.
Where should you begin? For a start, do all you can to ensure physicians in your organization feel valued. Provide opportunities for them to participate in policy development and improvement practices. Moreover, you can cultivate a transparent environment, which will help in promoting trust and feelings of inclusion.
When it comes to meeting agendas, healthcare executives must focus on critical issues and solutions. Still, while vital information and action items are of the utmost importance, including fresh perspectives, the unexpected, and a little fun in your meetings could boost both their efficiency and staff turnout. Consider:
- Varying the location. Every now and then, move your meetings to a different setting. Seek spaces that are relaxed, conducive to open exchanges, and equipped to comfortably accommodate the group. A change in location can, quite literally, offer attendees a new point of view.
- Organizing a memorable meal. A lunch or dinner meeting could be something your physicians won’t soon forget. Think about having it catered by a restaurant celebrated for its regional fare or coordinate a night on the town for providers and their spouses/significant others. By making meetings more of an occasion, you will demonstrate how much you appreciate your physicians and their time. Make reservations at a trendy bistro; arrange an evening of dinner theater (time permitting); or—if you are based in or near a large city, like Chicago or New Orleans—sign attendees up for a food tour. The options are limitless.
- Getting social. Give clinicians the chance to bond through a simple team-building exercise. For instance, ask everyone attending to bring a personal photo—be it a vacation snapshot or picture of the family pet—to the meeting and to share it and its significance with the group. Or, before the meeting starts, place enough icebreaker questions for all in attendance on slips of paper in an envelope or small bowl. Then, invite everyone to select a question without peeking at it beforehand. (You can find some great ones at SignUpGenius.com.) The spontaneous questions and answers offer a fun and relaxed way to become better acquainted on a personal level.
People are more inclined to participate in activities they enjoy. By creating opportunities to engage and making meetings more pleasurable for your physicians, you will not only encourage creative collaboration, but also an increase in satisfaction and better outcomes.