Pratt: St. James Hospital engages for quality

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, June 17, 2015

We’re Engaged!

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers 2010 report, (From Courtship to Marriage: Why Health Reform is Driving Physicians and Hospitals Together), when asked whether they trusted hospitals, 20 percent of physicians surveyed said “no” and 57 percent said “sometimes.”

Can you imagine being cared for in a hospital your physician didn’t trust? Physicians have historically played “hard to get,” but physician engagement is a critical priority for hospitals and medical practices seeking to improve performance.

Faced with rising costs, new payment models and increasing demand for coordinated care, health care organizations need their physicians to be engaged and aligned with efforts to improve performance.

Organizations that meaningfully engage and collaborate with physicians are on the path to providing better care, as strong physician engagement can create better patient experiences and improve quality.

Hospitals survey physicians in efforts to deepen the understanding of physician engagement and strengthen the partnership with physicians to make gains on top strategic issues.

Physician surveys typically assess the key drivers of engagement by measuring their perceptions of the performance of the organization, its leadership and key departments/staff.

Engagement is not necessarily based on concrete, rational factors; rather, engagement stems from emotional attachment. According to Gallup, it boils down to four areas:

· Confidence: Confidence items measure whether physicians trust their hospitals and believe they fulfill their promises.

· Integrity: The Integrity items measure physicians’ feelings about whether their hospitals treat them fairly and make things right when a problem occurs.

· Pride: The Pride items determine whether doctors feel good about practicing at their hospitals and how practicing at the hospital reflects on them as doctors.

· Passion: Physicians who are passionate about their hospitals view them as irreplaceable.

Although engagement is important, it is not easy to obtain.

“It’s a time of unprecedented turmoil, and virtually every hospital and health system is struggling with physician engagement right now,” says Thomas Lee, M.D., chief medical officer for Press Ganey Associates Inc. (a company that has supported health care providers in understanding and improving the patient experience for nearly 30 years).

Other hospitals are not alone in the physician “courtship.”

Physician engagement is extremely important at St. James Parish Hospital, and we are pleased to say that our physicians are “engaged.”

We are blessed to have a great medical staff that is actively involved in the strategy-setting process of the organization.

Our latest survey demonstrated that compared to national averages, our physicians feel prouder to work at our hospital, better-equipped to do their jobs and more confident in our staff.

Once again, “Can you imagine being cared for in a hospital your physician didn’t trust?”

We can’t either.

That’s why we are so proud to offer you an engaged team — of physicians and caregivers — who are truly committed to making St. James Parish Hospital better every day.

Mary Ellen Pratt is St. James Parish Hospital CEO. She can be reached at