Whenever we do front line training in healthcare organizations, we’re asked the same question: “What about the doctors? Will they be held to the standards?” The answer is—it depends.
It depends on whether or not leaders take the time and make the effort to engage the providers in solutions. It depends on whether or not your leaders plan to do the hard work of hardwiring behaviors. It depends on whether or not the leaders have the courage to set the bar and stick to it. The Baird Group has a process for engaging providers and helping to build skills and accountability, but the success really rests in the hands of the senior leaders.
When it comes to creating a consistently positive patient experience, there has to be clear expectations set for everyone who comes in contact with patients; that includes the physicians. The problem is, providers are often left out of process because accountability is difficult for even the most seasoned leaders. Even when employed by the organization, the idea of having to hold doctors accountable for service behaviors can be daunting for many leaders.
I find that the biggest obstacle is the one created by our own fears and assumptions. Don’t assume your physicians are adversaries who will oppose your efforts. If you assume they are on the opposite side of the table, you don’t stand a chance in creating collaboration. It’s important to assume shared positive intention. Physicians are, by nature, quite competitive. Remember, they want happy patients and positive outcomes. They want to be top scorers. If you can bring them to the table and get them engaged, you’ll be well positioned for success. See them as your partners, not your opponents.