What is Physician Engagement?
Physician engagement is a strategy used to create stable relationships between physicians and healthcare organizations. A higher rate of physician engagement correlates with enhanced patient care, lower costs, greater efficiency, and improved patient safety – as well as higher physician satisfaction and retention. Properly executed physician engagement strategies are a critical success factor for navigating the integrated nature of delivery system transformation, enabling better quality care across the board.
Benefits of Physician Engagement
Common Physician Engagement Questions
- Why is Physician Engagement Important?
Physician engagement optimizes the patient’s experience while providing additional revenue via increased referrals. Once actively engaged through a mutualistic relationship, 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 the Main Barriers to Successful Physician Engagement?
There are three primary barriers to achieving physician engagement: Personal, organizational, and systemic. Each requires a different strategy to be overcome:
- Personal barriers involve an 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.
- Systemic barriers are created by political forces such as local, state and federal regulators, legislators, and rule makers.
- Why is it Important to Have Physician Buy-In to Have Financial Improvement Efforts?
Physicians are central to any health system – and as a result, their decisions impact the quality and cost of care. They control which specialists patients are referred to, which prescriptions patients need, and the speed and quality of care that your health system delivers. Be sure to involve them in goal setting processes to understand how their future is inextricably linked to the health system’s future.
Tips for Improving Physician Engagement
- How Can Providers Improve Physician Engagement? What Activities Help with Doctor Engagement?
- Start Small – Physician engagement is a challenging and multifaceted process, and no health system can immediately create a perfect, all-encompassing strategy. For best results, choose one engagement goal for physicians in one service line. Once that small goal is completed, work on another piece of your overall strategy.
- Analyze Claims Data – Claims data is helpful to identify trends in quality of care – however, it’s difficult to analyze due to the size of the datasets. Health systems should use specialized technology that uses claims data to derive information such as a physician’s referral patterns or overall patient leakage.
- Know Your Physicians – Organizations can create digital physician profiles and fill them with critical information, such as how busy they are and/or which doctors they prefer for referrals. Physician liaisons can take advantage of these insights to tailor their outreach strategy.
- Communicate Meaningfully – Organizations with successful physician engagement initiatives have dedicated physician liaison teams to engage in focused outreach. Liaisons should have insights from claims and physician data ready to reference and use their strong interpersonal skills to communicate engagement goals with physicians.
- Establish a Digital Presence – A strong online presence for certain service lines will reassure physicians of your health system’s expertise. Consider creating informative webpages and resources for diagnoses within a high-value service line and explain how your physicians are equipped to deal with these health conditions.
- Track ROI – It’s difficult to justify a physician engagement initiative if its benefits can’t be demonstrated with data. Record liaison interactions, capture referral feedback, and compare metrics before and after the liaison’s outreach to showcase the ROI of your engagement efforts.