LifeWings Announces New Physician Engagement Toolkit to Help Hospitals Weather Serious Ramifications of the Affordable Care Act

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Evidence reveals that engaged physicians are linked to superior patient care, lower costs, greater efficiency, and improved quality and patient safety. LifeWings Partners LLC today announced a toolkit to help health care leaders get better results from their safety programs by getting more support from their physicians.

“I’ve seen hundreds of successful safety improvement projects and the key determinant of success is the alignment between physicians' needs and the goals and strategies of health care leaders.

LifeWings Partners LLC today announced a toolkit to help health care leaders get better results from their safety programs by getting more support from their physicians. The toolkit, available free, provides specific guidelines and proven ways to get more physician support and engagement in patient safety programs.

Spurred by the Affordable Care Act, the new model of health care reimbursement is based on safety and quality metrics rather than the volume of services. Health care leaders feel an increased urgency to prevent costly patient-harming errors with effective patient safety programs.

Studies on effective safety initiatives show that physician engagement is a critical success factor. Evidence reveals that engaged physicians are linked to superior patient care, lower costs, greater efficiency, and improved quality and patient safety.

Achieving true physician engagement, however, remains a challenge for hospitals and health systems. Steve Harden, CEO of LifeWings, cited physician perspective as a major factor in determining how successful a safety program will be. He stated that, “I’ve seen hundreds of successful safety improvement projects and the key determinant of success is the alignment between physicians needs and the goals and strategies of health care leaders. When leaders tout just the safety of a new program to conscientious physicians, their response is one of defense, because as the ultimate professionals, they feel that they already do everything possible to ensure their patients’ safety.”

Citing a RAND Corporation study that revealed that the ability to provide high-quality care without obstacles is a major driver of physician satisfaction, Mr. Harden suggested that leaders need to do a better job of communicating how safety improvement programs will make their hospitals better, more efficient places to work; environments where both physicians and patients thrive. Mr. Harden stated that, “efficiency, financial rewards, and the ability to help more people are what drives most physicians. Administrators who can make the case for how their patient safety program will satisfy those physician drivers will be the most successful in getting physician engagement.”

The Physician Engagement Toolkit provides guidance on several areas critical to obtaining buy-in from physicians, including what data to share, how to present benchmarks, how to speak to the physicians’ interests, and how to select the right individuals to champion the project. The toolkit is available at http://www.saferpatients.com/knowledge/cms/Product/physician-engagement.html.

About LifeWings
LifeWings Partners, LLC is a team of physicians, nurses, Toyota-trained Lean experts, NASA astronauts, and flight crews. The team was the first in the U.S. to study the best practices of organizations with high reliability, and successfully adapt their strategies for use in health care. They have distilled the methodology used in commercial aviation, military aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and cutting-edge manufacturing to help health care organizations create safe, efficient, high-quality hospitals and clinics.

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Stephen Harden
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