A new national study reiterates a widely accepted maxim: communication is one of the keys to any good relationship -- especially those involving hospital administrators and physicians. These sometimes "volatile" relationships call for added focus on both collaboration and communication, according to a study by Mitretek Healthcare, a national consulting firm, and the American Hospital Association's Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development.
The report, released last week, provides benchmark data on more than 60 strategies that hospitals are using to strengthen ties with physicians, including a focus on economic alignment between the two groups. It also charts the effectiveness of these strategies. The authors conclude that hospitals must have "written, board-approved, physician-hospital alignment plans that are developed with substantial input from the medical staff."
Several other key initiatives identified in the report include: engaging doctors in decisionmaking on issues that affect the medical staff; increasing communication and accessibility to top hospital administrators; improving economic alignment; and building a "more positive organizational culture" for all employees, doctors and patients.
"The sensitive nature of these relationships calls for formal physician-hospital alignment plans," said Robert McGowan, a senior principal at Mitretek Healthcare and one of the study's principal investigators.