Improving Quality Through Physician Engagement

By Alice G. Gosfield

IN 2007, ENGAGING PHYSICIANS TO IMPROVE quality was considered a top priority for hospitals. Today, that goal is even more urgent. From accountable care organizations to clinical integration, forging a close bond between physicians and hospitals for improved quality results is now an imperative.

The health reform debates heightened awareness of the need for greater value in the health care Americans receive. Overuse is a major problem in this country and much of what is overused is ordered by physicians.

But value is not just about cost. It is also about the quality of the care delivered. There are many things that do not require physician engagement that hospitals can and should do to improve the value of their services. But to truly deliver top-flight, efficient, effective care, hospitals’ passionate engagement of physicians is essential. With their orders, physicians drive almost everything that hospitals do. It is no longer enough to have some physicians engaged in hospital quality projects. Because hospitals will increasingly be held accountable for the results they achieve, solid clinical collaboration with their physicians—whether employed or independent—is crucial.

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