The American Medical Association (AMA) wants physicians trained for teamwork and collaboration.
When hospitals started seeking cutting edge talent and selection techniques from other industries, we always had an interesting discussion that started with “and what about physicians”?
The fact that we needed to drastically shift the focus of hiring from technical skills to behaviors like adaptability, compassion and collaboration for nurses, managers, allied health and front line workers was a no-brainer. Hospital senior leaders were starting to see a growing employed physician “workforce”, and weren’t quite sure what to do about selecting for or developing the behaviors they felt they’d need in the long run.
A few progressive organizations started to identify the behavioral competencies they wanted in physicians, to implement development programs and even reward physicians for outcomes and group or hospital “citizenship”. By and large, though, people were struggling with how to place a new emphasis on behaviors in the face a very traditional approach to medical education, physician recruitment, and professional culture that tends to resist change – particularly change that alters performance expectations.
This week, the American Medical Association recognized the importance of the issue when it announced $10 Million in grants to medical schools to develop innovative methods of teaching medical students teamwork and other related skills.
As interest in the topic has grown, we’ve continued to talk about it with our clients. Now we see a growing willingness to find solutions. Clients call every week about the issue. Hospital and physician leaders have realized:
1. We need a new type of physician leader and can’t wait and hope that they develop. 2. We need physicians able to adapt to rapid change, to find innovative ways to be more productive while maintaining the quality of care, and to look for ways to cut costs and improve patient satisfaction scores. 3. Sound clinical skills are no longer enough and we need a more deliberate way to train, identify, select and develop physicians with Healthcare Emotional Intelligence.
Here are some of the ways we’ve been helping our clients with this challenge: 1. Assessments for physicians that help them to understand their own levels of compassion, awareness, regulation and healthcare-specific emotional intelligence. The results help a physician to modify his behavior to improve performance – his own and that of the organization. 2. Improving the physician interview process. Using techniques from executive interview principles, we can learn more about the physician’s likelihood to be collaborative and innovative and how he’ll respond under stress. 3. A more deliberate approach to developing physician leaders by using the same tools we use in other industries. We can no longer place a physician in a leadership role because he’s the most assertive or most productive person in his department. We need to understand the leadership competencies that predict success. Even the outstanding leadership development programs of the ACPE, make use of similar tools. 4. Finally – a more deliberate approach to assessing a physician candidate’s “fit” with the organization and situation. The majority of physician turnover is still due to differences in expectations or culture.
Bryan Warren was the former Director of Healthcare Solutions at PSI. He was responsible for developing and promoting tools and services designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations.