Are there bruised feelings in your medical staff resulting from a recent merger? Does the board involve the medical staff in the early stages of quality initiatives? Does the credentials committee report to the board or to the medical executive committee?

All these things can affect your hospital's efforts to engage its physicians in ways that promote your mutual goals for high quality patient care, patient safety, and financial success. To help hospitals identify what structural and historical factors in the organization will work for and against those efforts, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement developed the Physician Engagement Difficulty Assessment.

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Source: Reinertsen JL, Gosfield AG, Rupp W, Whittington JW. Engaging Physicians in a Shared Quality Agenda. IHI Innovation Series white paper. Cambridge, MA: :Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2007. (Available at www.IHI.org )

Note that the total score is not a predictor of what might happen but is meant by IHI as a means to "taking the organization's temperature. Completing the self-assessment, and discussing its implications among your medical staff and administrative leaders, is an important early step in understanding, prioritizing, and sequencing the hard work" of engagement that lies ahead.

Publication Date: Thursday, July 31, 2008