How Physician Employees Affect Leadership Dynamics

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , November 15, 2010
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"For example, we set up a physician council, the medical executive committee and seven other members of the medical staff representing the different disciplines of the medical staff to look at issues," Davis says.
"We want to be totally transparent. We want to communicate with the doctors so each of these representatives can go to their colleagues and say, 'These are the issues. What do you think?'"

Like Dye, Davis holds joint conferences with the hospital board and the medical staff executive committees to continually identify needs, opportunities, and threats.

"I don't go out on my own and recruit physicians. It's very much a joint venture between the medical staff and the board, and the things that I do," Davis says.

With the help of the medical staff, Davis and the board develop a strategic plan for physician need. "Everybody knows. There are no secrets. We know the disciplines we need to recruit," he says.
Davis says it's imperative that senior executives—and not just clinicians—make themselves available when a physician candidate is contacted. "They want to know the administration is supporting it," he says.

"I'm going to make the contacts and let them know how important I feel it is for them to come. I'm going to make sure it's a good match that is strategically vital."

Dye says that initial outreach to physician candidates from senior executives can create a lasting impression. "Whatever you say, you deliver on. That doesn't just have to be the CEO. It can be on the executive staff," he says.

And once a physician is hired, the process continues. Dye likes to have an open door policy, where physicians feel free to speak with him. "It is critical, especially in a smaller facility, that physicians have access to the CEO," Dye says. "It's a rewarding partnership when you have an effective relationship with the docs, albeit challenging at times," he says. "But it needs to be challenging. They need to challenge us in the operations of the hospital and make sure that we provide what they need to provide quality care. It's what makes our business unique, and I guess that is what makes it fun as well."   

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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