Physician Practice

5 Keys to Finding Physician Champions

Physician Practice Insider, October 2, 2017

Smart healthcare leaders recognize the importance of bringing clinical leaders to the table when navigating any type of change that affects their work, whether it be an IT implementation or new initiative.

But how should administrators identify clinical leaders? That was a key question posed to panelists at the 2017 ATLAS (Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium) conference in Boston September 19 - 20.

"We really love the term 'physician champion,'" noted moderator Erin Jospe, MD, chief medical officer for patient-access company Kyruus, which sponsored the event.

"We're also not really good at explaining what the exact role and responsibility of a champion is, [and understanding] that there's actual clinical capital that's going to get expended, that there's some element of risk in asking somebody to be a representative in that capacity," she said. Minimizing these risks comes down to identifying physician champions with specific qualities, said Chi-Cheng Huang, MD, associate chief medical officer at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, MA.

1. Respect

The first question, according to Huang, is, "Do they have the respect of the physicians and administration?"

Being regarded with legitimacy and credibility by fellow physicians doesn't necessarily mean that physician leaders maintain clinical activity, the panelists noted, but it can help.

"It shows them that I'm under the same pressures under quality metrics and performance as them," said M. Alex Schiaffino, MD, FAAFP, medical director for the access center of Summa health System in Ohio.

2. Understanding

Physician champions must also have an understanding of both clinician and administrative points of view, Huang said.

"Do they understand how the physician or healthcare provider is working? On the other side of the coin, do they understand that our operating margin is 0.5%—and that probably is going to go down if we don't fix this quickly?"

3. Time

Physician leaders must have the time to engage in important conversations with their peers and others, Huang noted, and that may or may not require cutting back on clinical time.

Read the full article on Health Leaders Media.


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