|New Remedies Needed To Attract Physicians To Participate In Quality Improvement Initiatives
Hospitals will have to change their paradigm if they
want more volunteer physician participation in quality improvement
efforts. That’s the conclusion of a study by the Washington
D.C.-based Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).
Physicians already have a new paradigm. As more services
shift to outpatient settings, they are confronting quality-of-life
issues, and have less time and feel less obligated to volunteer time
for hospital activities.
In the old days, hospitals historically relied on the
voluntary medical staff model to solicit physician participation
— a model generally premised on a loose affiliation between
hospitals and community-based physicians
"While hospitals are making gains in quality, greater
alignment of hospitals and physicians working together on quality
improvement would likely spur considerably more improvement," said
Debra A. Draper, HSC associate director and co-author of the study with
Allison Liebhaber and Genna R. Cohen.
The HSC authors interviewed hospital leaders in Detroit,
Memphis, St. Paul, Minn., and Seattle and identified hospital
strategies to encourage and generate more physician participation,
- Employing physicians;
- Using credible data to identify quality areas needing improvement;
- Providing visible hospital leadership support;
- Identifying and nurturing physician champions to help engage their peers; and
- Communicating the importance of physicians’ contributions.
- Making hospital bylaws specific and spell out accountability that clearly outlines physicians’ responsibilities;
- Hiring physicians full-time to create incentives for
their involvement in quality improvement, lessening competing pressures
on physicians’ time and increasing their accessibility and
visibility in the hospital;
- Providing physicians with credible data proving
because many physicians believe, mistakenly, that they are providing
good quality of care;
- Creating a strong quality culture by publicly demonstrating that quality improvement is important, supported and encouraged; and
- Increasing physician willingness to participate, by
showing them that quality improvement activities improve patient
outcomes and aren’t just administrative or regulatory
Not just hospital leaders, but the nation’s policy
makers driving the nation’s healthcare quality improvement
agenda, should get involved, the authors said.
Policymakers should focus on a limited number of quality
improvement initiatives that demonstrate the most promise for
significant improvement. They should strive for consistency across
programs, upgrade patient care quality data and establish financial and
other incentives to support their quality improvement.
The study’s findings are detailed in a new HSC Issue Brief – Hospital Strategies to Engage Physicians in Quality Improvement.
The HSC is a nonpartisan policy research organization
providing research on the nation’s changing health system to
inform policymakers to better healthcare policy. HSC is funded in part
by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with
Mathematica Policy Research.
Address: Center for Studying Health System Change, 600 Maryland Ave. SW, #550, Washington DC 20024; (202) 484-5261, www.hschange.org.