23 March 2017

The Role of Professional Development in Physician Engagement

Sheridan’s Chief Quality Officer Gerald Maccioli, MD, MBA, FCCM sees physician engagement as essential for all stakeholders. He spoke with Becker’s ASC Review recently about the value of investing in comprehensive professional development opportunities for physicians to keep them engaged. 

“We all want the quadruple aim—which includes a satisfied population of physicians,” he said in the Q & A. “If engagement isn't developed, you are never going to get to that. It will always be a push and pull rather than a rolling together phenomenon.”

Dr. Maccioli explained that physicians are highly educated problem solvers for whom development and engagement are connected, and offering them the chance to participate in strategic training increases their engagement. “If the physician is given the authority to co-lead, coupled with strategic planning training, that is a way to engage the physician and create buy-in at the same time. Physicians need to feel like they are making an impact,” he said. He believes that providing education around what processes doctors can impact and giving them a venue to do so are key to furthering their professional development. 

Communication is also important. The culture of a clinical practice is different from the culture of business, so physicians and administrators may not be on the same page. “Connecting the role of the clinical physician to organizational strategy and market trends is critical to trying to figure out where their training can be impactful,” Dr. Maccioli said.

Because of the siloed nature of clinical practices’ and administrators’ work, he argues that for physicians to be full partners, they need to understand the hospital’s business strategy. For that reason, he thinks hospitals should offer basic courses in fundamental business skills like finance and strategic planning. “Before I got my MBA and really became involved in strategic planning, there was a disconnect between clinical life and strategic direction,” he explained. “You can work at a facility 20 years and still not know what the organization's strategic goals are.”

When asked for specific examples of an organization's investment in professional development and physician engagement, Dr. Maccioli mentioned three of the development opportunities offered by Sheridan. One is an annual, three-day Sheridan Leadership Conference, the flagship event of the Sheridan Leadership Academy, which includes specialty-specific break-out tracks to keep physicians abreast of what is going on in their areas of specialization. Sheridan also sends selected anesthesiologists to a specialized one-week, intensive, Anesthesia Business Group Executive Management Program, offered in partnership with the Wharton School of Business. “We have seen this pay off, and people who take up this opportunity go on to assume departmental and leadership roles in the company.” He also mentioned the Sheridan Leadership Academy’s flagship Emerging Leaders Program, an 18-month program in which the participants, who must be nominated by their clinical leaders, are each paired with a Sheridan clinical or operational leader to coach them through a Capstone Experience in which they choose and tackle a current, real-life work challenge. The program culminates with the participants’ presentations of the results and lessons learned to their coaches and then to key stakeholders and other corporate executives. “I think the best leaders are grown and honed from within,” said Dr. Maccioli, “and that is the philosophy that exists here.”