Getting physicians on board for hospital governance—both figuratively, and literally—is essential for cohesive cardiology service lines. "Through meaningful transparent dialogue, we have been able to instill in cardiologists a sense of ownership of the program," says Andrew Bowman, RN, clinical director of cardiovascular services at Sacred Heart Hospital.
At Sacred Heart, the ownership isn't of the bricks and mortar variety. Aligning with physicians is important to overcome the day-to-day issues of running a cardiovascular service line: scheduling the catheter labs; supply chain management, and standardizing protocols.
Bowman emphasizes the importance of physician alignment and also flexibility. "Don't rely on a single methodology for physician alignment," he said. "Understand your market and be open to different strategies for partnerships."
Sacred Heart is considering a co-management leadership structure with physicians, but it isn't there yet. As of now, the hospital runs a cardiology management committee, which includes physician partners that represent competing cardiology groups. Physicians are having more leverage in how the hospital runs its administrative business, including human resource management, areas "vetted and acted upon" by the cardiology management committee, Bowman says.
Having competing physician groups at the table is no easy task. "Those conversations were difficult at the beginning, sitting across the table with some history of competition that initially could not be overcome. It took many meetings and a lot of time and energy to get through it," Bowman says.