Physicians, administrators and supply chain professionals share the same goal—improving patient care and satisfaction. However, each group often takes a different route, which can lead to disagreements, miscommunication and misunderstandings of policies and procedures.

Physicians are on the frontline when it comes to a patient’s care, yet few providers actively engage physicians in operational, strategic and financial decisions to evaluate and optimize healthcare delivery across the continuum.

Importance of Physician Involvement

Healthcare costs are rising, and reimbursements are increasing based on the quality of care, not the quantity. Many of the reforms included in the Affordable Care Act are shifting the payment structures for hospitals and physicians toward value-based models, e.g. meaningful use, pay-for-performance and patient-centered medical homes.

Because of this, physicians should be made aware “that their clinical activities, outcomes and ultimately, clinical costs, will be measured and compared to national benchmarks, as well as to peers both inside and outside the organization,” according to Dr. Jerry Floro, the president of Pioneer Medical Group, in an article in Becker’s Hospital Review.

Physicians may feel uncomfortable with this kind of scrutiny, Dr. Floro writes, but involving them from the start in decision-making will ensure goals are consistent throughout the organization—from supply chain to physicians.

Bringing Physicians and Supply Chain Together

“What [physicians] ask is to be at the table with supply chain to sort through the choices, to see and get comfortable with any data being used, and to share clinical issues that need to be considered,” says Barbara M. Paul, MD, and senior vice president and chief medical officer of Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporation (CHS) in Franklin, Tenn.

Furthermore, engaging physicians in the decision-making process increases their investment and involvement in the entire organization. When they feel as if their thoughts and opinions matter, they will be more likely to buy into the organization’s mission, Dr. Floro adds. And that helps ensure achieving the ultimate goal: quality patient care and high satisfaction.

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