Hospital CEO Chat Part 6: Strengthening Physician Relationships With a Reliable Care Model

iStock_000001245742LargeHospitals seek to cultivate strong relationships with their doctors–building trusting, collaborative partnerships that best serve physicians, hospitals, and most importantly, the health outcomes and experience of patients. Hospital programs for physician alignment and affinity take many forms. But how much does improving the core of care orchestration and efficiency across the hospital improve the physician experience? We asked three hospital CEOs this question:

How does more efficient and reliable care coordination and communication strengthen your physician experience and relationships? 

Steve Scogna, President and CEO, Northwest Community Hospital near Chicago

Steve Scogna, President and CEO, Northwest Community Hospital near Chicago

Steve Scogna: The most important message that I have to our physicians is that we really want to try and make their experience here better. We’re all about making NCH the place where they want to practice and also where we want to have them or they want to have their patients come and be taken care of, so the message is that we’re looking to adopt any means possible to differentiate ourselves and to make their lives attractive to coming to NCH and viewing us as a partner in the care for their patients.

One of the most gratifying parts of this role and of this [Aim for Excellence transformation] project has really been dealing with our community and our physicians, and how our image has evolved because of that. We’ve reached out to our community and we’ve reached out to our physicians to really form greater bonds and greater levels of partnership, and so we’ve been very, very focused on that. We’ve been out in the community, myself and my entire team have made sure that we’ve reached out. We’ve talked to the Village Board of Trustees, we’ve reached out to the key community and corporate leaders to try and single out how is it that we can be a better community partner. Simultaneously, we’ve been out with our physicians and we’ve been trying to drive home opportunities to say we’re open to different partnerships. Those partnerships don’t have to necessarily be through an ownership, but perhaps through joint venture, perhaps through PSAs, different types of relationships where both the physician and the hospital can be jointly working together for the same outcome, which is for the betterment of the patient. So we’re very, very excited about what we’re doing, both within the body of the community and with our physicians, and we’re hearing positive feedback from both about that change that’s occurred.

Daniel P. Moen, President and CEO, Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, Mass.

Daniel P. Moen, President and CEO, Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, Mass.

Dan Moen: Here at Sisters of Providence Health System, [the logistical care production model] has really helped us improve communication with all of our connections, with our nursing staff, with other ancillary providers but also with physicians because physicians walk onto a unit, and in many instances in the past, we didn’t have a lot of information about what was going with the patient. Maybe they didn’t even know where that patient was at that moment. So now they can come into the department; they can look at the electronic board, see the status of the patient. They can talk to the [hub and unit central care coordinators] on a real-time basis, and make sure that any issues with the patient’s care are going to be handled as quickly as possible.

Dr. Patrick Taylor, CEO, Holy Cross Hospital in Fr. Lauderdale

Dr. Patrick Taylor, CEO, Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale

Dr. Patrick Taylor: When we initially introduced [a hub-and-spoke care model], truthfully I think the physicians were a bit skeptical, you know. They are not sure whether this is the next new fad that we’re trying to introduce, so first we had to both convince our associates and the physicians that this was really going to be a transformational culture change, and it was here to stay. Second, we took away some of their comfort crutches, you know, the classic charge nurse on the floor, and replace that with a clinical care coordinator. I think now the physicians are starting to realize that the information that the clinical care coordinator, and what a clinical care coordinator can do for both themselves and for a patient, in terms of improving their day-to-day life as a physician, it has significantly expanded the role from our prior charge nurse. So now our physicians embrace it.

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