Engaged physicians are the manifestation of your brand, the set of values that your hospital represents and the experience this creates for patients. Engaged physicians are visibly stimulated by their work and are perceived as loyal and productive. They are outwardly committed to their hospital’s mission and dedicated to organizational success. These stars are referral-magnets, and are thus your best medical marketing tool.
Engagement is often mistaken for a personality trait, along the lines of enthusiastic or hard-working. However, employee engagement does not simply taper down to innate self-motivation; more often, it’s the result of a well-structured organization that enhances each employee’s sense of personal well-being.
In hospitals, motivation can easily be dampened by demanding schedules, distance from colleagues, and lack of a sense of leadership. Higher level hospital staff have a responsibility to address these concerns by creating an organizational structure that is conducive to engagement. After all, hospitals have a lot to lose from failing to do so.
In a recent health system study, Gallup found that engaged physicians:
- were 26 percent more productive than less engaged counterparts, which amounts to an additional $460,000 on average in patient revenue per physician per year.
- gave the hospital an average of 3 percent more outpatient referrals and 51 percent more inpatient referrals than physicians who were not engaged or who were actively disengaged.
What are some ways to inspire physician engagement to boost hospital revenue and brand success?
1 . Define your brand and communicate it regularly.
Establish core goals and values, and use these ideals to lead by example. Cultivate a unified hospital culture by reminding physicians of what distinguishes your hospital from others. This will help physicians feel like they are necessary hubs in a successful system.
2 . Build a culture of innovation.
Create a culture that celebrates both independent problem-solving and collaborative brainstorming. Encourage entrepreneurial thinking and make sure physicians know that their ideas can and will be heard.
3 . Identify which decisions call for physician feedback.
Leadership can’t involve everyone in each decision, but it can isolate areas that could disproportionately affect physicians, such as scheduling processes and hospital forms. In these cases, physician feedback should be given priority.
4 . Provide opportunities for physicians to grow professionally.
Provide new physicians with a mentor and recognize distinguished physicians by promoting their research or public speaking events. Giving physicians the chance to learn from and teach colleagues will create a sense of pride and teamwork within the hospital community.
5. Invest in connections among team members.
Find ways to make physicians intersect with as many colleagues as possible. Some companies ban coffee cups and food in certain areas to encourage employees to take breaks in the same place. Shared breaks create the opportunity for people to get to know one another.
6. Use creative problem-solving.
One company’s approach to conflict is to make a group of employees from one department explain their suggestions or grievances to a person in another department, who then explains the situation to leadership at a staff meeting. This practice drives every staff member to see the organization through the eyes of others. Incorporate empathetic practices such as this one into your behind-the-scenes operations as often as possible.