What is Physician Engagement?
Physician Engagement Definition
Physician engagement is a strategy aimed at creating stable relationships between physicians and hospitals or health systems and is a critical success factor for navigating the delivery system transformation. An engaged physician correlates with enhanced patient care, lower costs, greater efficiency, and improved patient safety, as well as higher physician satisfaction and retention.
Benefits of Physician Engagement
- Increased engagement among physicians leads to the development of a more engaged patient base and ultimately improved care.
- Enhanced engagement helps to foster a sense of connectedness, value, and influence among physicians, which is beneficial for growing in-network referrals.
- Engaged physicians demonstrate a deeper commitment to improving their own performance, often leading to better decisions regarding a patient’s health.
- In addition to improving care, physician engagement also has financial benefits as it reduces referral leakage and builds physician loyalty.
Common Physician Engagement Questions
- Why is physician engagement important? The changing nature of competition, the quest to improve the patient experience, and the on-going journey to optimize conventional and new, innovative patient channels are just a few reasons why physician engagement is important. By actively engaging them, hospitals or health systems can build mutualistic relationships, as engaged physicians provide ~3% more outpatient referrals and ~51% more inpatient referrals. This loyalty can help improve physician alignment, which allows you to increase your market share and drive revenue.
- What are existing barriers to successful physician engagement? There are 3 main barriers to achieving physician engagement: personal, organizational, and systemic. Each takes a different strategy to overcome.
Personal barriers have to do with individual physicians’ attitudes and mindsets, especially whenever new technology is introduced and a learning curve is present. Organizational barriers are represented by structure, culture, policies and procedures that discourage the development of engagement. Local, state and federal regulators, legislators, and rulemakers create systemic barriers.
- How can providers improve physician engagement? Organizations can improve their physician engagement efforts by gaining a deep understanding of physicians, defining strategic goals, implementing tools necessary for alignment, and tracking alignment efforts.
An emphasis on communicating goals with physicians is one way hospitals and health systems can improve their engagement levels, as this is usually the most significant factor of disengagement. Continuous communication with physicians will also provide competitive intelligence and a better understanding of the market.
Another way to improve engagement is by providing outreach teams insights from claims-based market intelligence and referral patterns. With this information, physician liaisons can consolidate all physician activity into a 360° view of a physician’s loyalty across an organization’s target market. From there, liaisons can better understand physician activity and have more pointed discussions with them.