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Salem Health shares physician engagement successes with Canadians

By Andy Furman, MD, Medical Affairs Vice President; Andre DeMerchant, Lean consultant; and Debbie Goodwin, Kaizen learning and development consultant                    

In September 2016, three physician leaders from Health Sciences North visited Salem Health to see our approach to Physician Engagement and the Lean management system. HSN is a 458 bed hospital located in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada with approximately 500 physicians and 4,000 employees.

Despite being in different countries, our two hospitals have a lot in common, including a shared desire to address physician engagement using Lean tools. While most health care organizations are talking about provider engagement, few are doing something about it with the thoughtfulness and focus of Lean principles. Leaders at HSN recognized the shared intentions and successes at Salem Health, and wanted to learn from our experiences.

Dr. Chris Bourdon, chief of staff, vice president medical and academic affairs, Dr. David Boyle, medical director of the Surgical Program and Dr. Denis Bonin, chief of the Department of Laboratory, Medicine and Pathology spent one full day at Salem Health. They toured the visibility room, met with physicians from the Salem Health Medical Group and Surgical Services, and received overviews of the ED System Kaizen, Physician Leader Rounding and the Problem Resolution System. The guests also joined the Medical Staff Engagement Committee meeting. Evaluations of the visit were positive.

The development of a robust problem resolution process is just one example of how Salem Health uses Lean to engage physicians more effectively. Read this update about the problem resolution journey and successes the program has seen.

Dr. Bourdon recently followed up his site visit with a phone call for more specifics as his team creates its own problem resolution system for physicians. We discussed some of our lessons learned, like moving away from a system where an administrator is asked to solve a problem and shifting to an approach involving those who actually do the work. Our team's primary objective is to communicate that a provider’s concerns have been heard, and discuss next steps.

Engaged and satisfied physicians are a key piece of successful community health care. There is a lot of work still to do, but we’re proud of the hard work invested in these challenges — and the successes we have to show for it. 

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