Year-Round Focus is Key to Improving Physician Satisfaction & Engagement

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post excerpts an article by Barbara R. Paul MD, Former CMO, Community Health Systems and Former Director, CMS Quality Measurement & Health Assessment Group in the Q4 2015 issue of PX Advisor, our quarterly magazine designed to bring you thought leadership and best practices for improving the patient experience.

Physician survey results are invaluable for hospital leadership as they work to understand and improve nursing, operations, and quality of care. Given the daily pressures of running a hospital, it is understandable why survey results might be given a quick view and filed away. Experienced administrators know, however, that the very items driving physician satisfaction and engagement are the core elements of a well-run hospital. These administrators use the survey as a year-round operational and management tool.

Not a Once a Year Event, Rather a Year-round Process

Data collection during the survey is just one step in a year-round process of assessing and improving operational success. The most successful administrators have a year-round dialogue with physicians about the very topics contained in the survey. After a survey, they:

  • Dig in behind the answers with some key physicians (such as those on the Med Exec Committee or a physician advisory group)
  • Create explicit action plans directly from survey results, with members of management held responsible for results
  • Provide updates to physicians over ensuing months (…and keep getting additional input) • Remind physicians frequently of these surveydriven improvements
  • Then remind them again when encouraging physicians to fill out the next year’s survey

When the survey is used in this way, response rates in excess of 50% are common (meaning that results are highly reliable), and real progress can be seen year over year. This becomes a mutually reinforcing cycle for improvement—doctors see survey results being used to drive positive changes, so they are willing to devote time and energy into completing the survey candidly and in a timely manner, so administration has real data from which to achieve ever-improving care and operations.

This article also includes:

  • The Subtleties of Communication
  • Survey Results in Higher and Lower Performing Hospitals
  • Are We Talking Satisfaction or Engagement? Or Both?
  • Elements of Success for Systems with Multiple Hospitals