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Summit Focuses on Physician Leadership Role in Clinical Integration

By AAPL Staff
November 20, 2017

About 50 health care leaders attended the Florida gathering to hear about ways to engage and cultivate physician leadership at their organizations. 

The goal of value-based health care is simple enough: Provide patients the best outcomes at the lowest cost. Reaching that goal involves reinventing how medical facilities and practices do business.

Implementing a dyad leadership model – in which physician and administration teams share leadership responsibilities – is developing into an industry best practice, but not without hurdles. Overcoming those obstacles was the focus of a Nov. 17 summit, Key Integration Strategies: Promoting Physician Leadership.

About 50 health care leaders attended the gathering at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida, to hear about ways to engage and cultivate physician leadership at their respective organizations. It was hosted by the American Association for Physician Leadership® and the Western Florida Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Panelists touched on a variety of strategies, including the use of dyadic relationships, an emphasis on process oversight and better preparation of physicians as influencers in their organizations.

Make physicians “mission driven, not metrics driven,” said Michael Torres, MD, vice president and CMO at Florida Hospital Tampa. “Don't provide data to clinicians and not tell them how to improve.”

Torres continued about the importance of leadership education for physicians at all levels.

Edward Cutolo, MD, chief of staff for the Haley VA facility, agreed. “The expectation is that physicians hit the ground running, but they don’t,” he said.

Better leadership training could remove obstacles to executing an integration strategy.

During his keynote address, Larry Feinman, DO, chief medical officer of HCA West Florida Division in Tampa, pointed out some of the pressures that must be alleviated, including a “general distrust” by clinicians of non-medical leaders, the burnout epidemic, financial pressures of medical practices, and the costly absence of buy-in.

However, he noted that the evolution – “where everyone is in charge” - is going in the right direction, although the integration is taking on many forms.

 “It’s a moving target. It’s a dynamic,” he said.

During a panel on integration, Cutolo referred to his facility while discussing the importance of changing cultures and performance improvement – a prime objective for the VA nationally after a whistleblower revealed a scheme to cover up long delays in care for veterans in 2014.

“Most of our patient satisfaction focused in on communication and mixed messages,” said Cutolo, whose VA facility is 504-bed level 1A medical and teaching hospital.

“We have adopted a team mentality,” Cutolo said. “We have team roundup meetings where we discuss handoffs, updates, etc. We work on creating a unified message for each patient at those meetings and have adopted patient boards where all disciplines can comment and updates are posted. The boards are in the patient’s view and the clinical team's view.

“If a patient is scheduled to go home in a day, then anyone attending the patient can say, ‘I see you are going home in a day.’ If the patient says they didn't know that, the clinician can say, ‘Yes, I see on the board that we've been telling you this for two days.’ ”

Summit participants also toured the host hospital’s new 170,000-square-foot, 56-bed Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center. The facility features a therapeutic climbing wall and aquatic center, virtual reality simulation center, multisurface mobility training area, outdoor recreational therapeutic space, “town center” atrium, and exterior deck for patients and families.

Topics: Leadership Education

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Now more than ever, physicians are leaders in their organizations and communities.

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