Updated: Oct 17, 2021
There are many studies that highlight, where healthcare organizations are in the top quartile on both employee and clinician engagement, they have experienced better safety and clinical quality outcomes, as well as shorter lengths of stay, fewer re-admissions, and higher patient satisfaction scores. Engagement levels of service providers also has a direct correlation with the financial health of such organizations.
Clinicians become truly engaged when they forge an emotional bond with the organization, taking pride in what they do, and speaking favorably about their employer to family and friends. Highly-engaged clinicians are directly linked to enhanced patient care, better quality, process efficiency, increased retention and lower costs. They are often more loyal, more co-operative, and more willing to work through challenges while providing constructive feedback. As clinicians, they cast a long shadow over those they serve - the patient. This is a very special relationship that organizations may ignore, only at their own peril!
Clinician Engagement Survey
In a survey of healthcare workers, conducted by Press Ganey Associates, in 23 countries across the world, physicians posted the lowest mean engagement score by job category. The data in the report was drawn from engagement surveys of more than 1.8 million physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers.
Boosting Clinician Engagement
There are many ways to improve physician engagement. Some of them are as follows:
Consistent measurement and the understanding of a physician’s need is crucial. Leveraging a scientifically based, psychometrically sound survey measurement tool, is the first step.
Commercialisation of healthcare has had a telling impact on the expectations from clinicians. Volume-based care has taken a precedence over value-based care. Hence, it is important to connect physicians with their core purpose and meaning in work.
Physician voices should be heard in the executive suite. One of the drivers for physician engagement is the ability to influence decision-making.
Train and develop physicians using proven behaviours that dramatically improve clinical care and patient experience.
Create a clinical platform/Centre of Excellence model, where clinicians of the same speciality, from across the group, can exchange knowledge, information and experience.
Data in healthcare should be used effectively. There should be a system of periodical departmental discussions/reviews to keep physicians informed about the various efforts/initiatives.
Organizations that are accelerating engagement have focused on building leadership abilities among physicians. Leadership skills are not taught in medical schools, but we call upon physicians to be leaders every day. Organizations can design/deliver service leadership programs.
Unless healthcare systems help clinicians become more engaged on the job, safe and high quality care for patients and communities will remain elusive. In an age of escalating clinician shortages and rising consumerism in healthcare, organizations can leverage clinician engagement as a competitive advantage, by building competency, helping them enhance their complimentary skills and forging partnerships for the growth of the enterprise.