Hospitals are complex and chaotic even without pandemic stressors. Medical staffs are comprised of physicians and other providers who manage significant workload demands with limited time and resources. Thus, there is no doubt that there must be effort by all parties to build trust, listen and cooperate.
This means working on the relationships, collaboration structures, shared decision-making as well as clear communication systems.
For decades, hospital administrators and medical staff leaders have focused only on the required documents, such as the medical staff bylaws. The medical staff bylaws formalize the interactions between a hospital and its medical staff. For most organizations, the bylaws are in large part aligned with The Joint Commission Standards, state statutes and regulations, the Health Care Quality Improvement Act and National Practitioner Data Bank and state peer review laws. Time has historically been spent to ensure compliance with these requirements. What is missing is the effort, energy and time needed to create alignment, achieve shared goals, and streamline systems focused on high-quality clinical care and value for patients. Who is working on the relationships and organizational design?
There are inherent conflicts in the hospital and medical staff relationship and both parties have little time to proactively strategize about innovative changes rather than deal with required accreditation standards or needed performance or peer reviews.
For these reasons, it is prudent to consider a third-party evaluation to bridge communications and create strategies for leaning into these inherently difficult relationships to achieve a ‘real’ collaboration and not simply update documents or ensure there is a monthly meeting convened to discuss clinical quality, peer review, and credentialing.
How can we help your teams move beyond the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ structure and into collaborations that review major industry changes affecting hospital-physician alignment and manage care delivery structures needed for continual improvement and redesign?
Whether the pandemic accelerated the need to focus on this relationship or not, it must be done. After all, alignment between hospital and medical staff leaders is vital to the delivery of high-quality care in an otherwise fragmented health care system.