Hello from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Land of Enchantment! This post circles back and expands on a previous post that talked about maximizing your Medical Staff investment. I have had several recent calls and emails asking for better ways to develop a more comprehensive and results oriented Physician Engagement strategy. Engagement of both your own physicians as well as physicians in your community.
Here are three basic “blocking and tackling” physician engagement strategies and ways to turbo charge your greatest business development investment: physicians! Your own medical staff is not only there to help you insure that quality compliant care is delivered but to help you serve more eligible hospice patients. There are a number of ways to achieve this. As more of a philosophical statement, “if it is not illegal, immoral or unethical, the more business relationships you can establish the better!
Back to the basic three things to start with.
- Meeting with your Medical Staff. I suggest meeting with your medical staff three times per year over dinner. The purpose of these meetings would be as follows. To provide a quick overview of how the hospice operation is doing. Share some basic trend information such as outcome quality measures, referrals, and census. Talk about staff development issues as well as business strategy. This dinner is a dialogue session not an info-commercial so make sure you ask questions as it relates to how you present your information. For example, our referral trend show us steadily growing. From your vantage point, do you have a feeling as to why?? Or, we had a higher number of revocations last month. Have any of you heard as to why this may be occurring? And so on. Next, ask your physicians for help!!! They want to help if you engage them correctively. Let them know you are looking at growing your ability to serve more people in Assisted Living Centers and ask them for their thoughts and ideas. You will be surprised at what your physicians may suggested. At one such physician meeting I held, I asked my medical staff if they would be willing to host one dinner over the next twelve months with 5 to 6 of their closest physician colleague friends so we could talk with them about hospice and our hospice services. All 5 physicians agreed and allowed us to expand our circle of physician influence more than tenfold. Lastly, ask your physicians what your hospice needs to do to make your hospice or home care company a better provider.
- Physician Advisory Boards. I wrote about this in a past post here and would suggest you revisit that post for the details. A Physician Advisory Board (PAB) is an excellent Triple AAA referral development strategy to engage community based docs. The PAB is held three times per year with a group of 12 to 14 physicians who attend the PABs on-going. The PAB stimulates good dialogue amongst the doctors which helps lead to a better understanding and use of hospice. This is a GREAT strategy I hope you seriously consider.
- Annual Medical Staff Education Meeting. This is a great engagement strategy as it promotes quality education and learning. This strategy is pretty straight forward. You select a nice venue for the meeting. Ask the physicians to invite their wife/significant other. You identify a physician authority in hospice, palliative and hospice management to be your faculty. You start the meeting with a check in Thursday night and camaraderie. Friday morning starts your full day of learning. Friday ends with a nice dinner which allows relationship development, questions and comments on the days learning and a sense of bonding for the physicians to the organization. Saturday is a half-day session. If the physician wish to stay Saturday night, they are on their own. My experiences is that most physicians do stay and allow for further dialogue and collegiality to occur.
These are considered my three “table-stake” physician engagement strategies. I would love to hear from you on what physician’s engagement strategies have worked best for you.