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How do you involve your physicians in the changes…
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Hoe betrek je jouw artsen bij de veranderingen in de zorg
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How do you involve your physicians in the changes in healthcare?

One of the specialized leadership programs at Antwerp Management School is that for the healthcare sector. Hospitals face many challenges and change processes. Therefore, there is an urgent need for leaders who can bridge the gap between professionals on the shop floor and the complex management of a hospital. With Tom David Van Meel, chief medical officer at AZ Klina, we discuss how they approach this with support of AMS.
by Antwerp Management School | May 22, 2017
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Hoe betrek je jouw artsen bij de veranderingen in de zorg

For several years, AMS has been organizing the Clinical Leadership program for physicians. This program aimed to provide in a very focused way insight into management, one's own leadership and skills that support the clinical leader in his or her expanded role. In addition, we highlight new developments and movements in healthcare and the ever-changing environment in which hospitals must operate. More and more hospitals were finding their way to AMS for the development of customized programs along the lines of the Clinical Leadership program. The Clinical Leadership program as such disappeared and is now organized as a company specific program. This is also how we went to work for AZ Klina.

"Since the core business differs from the required capabilities of physicians, a platform is necessary."

Full of care

For several years, AZ Klina has been working with AMS on the leadership development of its medical specialists. Clinical leadership development is an important strategic aspect of their policy. "In 2015, we started an initiative around a structural collaboration with AMS as a replacement for the individual pathways interested physicians followed until then." Gathering the necessary competencies is a key objective of the current pathway. "As support for the physician department heads in performing their duties, we were looking for a structural basis to work on required skills. Since the core business differs from the required skills of physicians, a platform is necessary." Together with AMS, AZ Klina therefore developed the 'SKILLS@WORK' initiative to facilitate development and insights for leadership and management tasks.

"We want to empower our physician heads of service as much as possible to take on their complex and dual role," he said.

"In addition, empowering physicians with a leadership/management role is a key driver in our trajectory at AMS. We want to empower our physician department heads as much as possible in taking on their complex and dual role within a group of independent physicians." For several days, the physician department heads were fully immersed around chosen topics that aligned with daily challenges and hospital-wide policies. "For our first track, we worked around leadership, the second track focused on strategy and transformation, and this year we are working primarily around changing policies in healthcare. We are looking at the role of the head of service as a team leader and also as a liaison in creating business plans and working around policy objectives."

No cover in the closet

As AMS, we would like to believe that we are the partner to empower such professionals, but how does that happen? "AMS succeeds every time in connecting our issues to top experts who turn knowledge into concrete tools and use tangible examples. Because of their knowledge of the sector, you can immediately start working with the new insights the next day." For AZ Klina, it is important that it is not purely theoretical. "We don't want a cover that ends up in the closet, but very practical material that means a turnaround in practice," he said.

"Because of AMS's sector knowledge, you can immediately get to work with the new insights right away."

According to Tom David, the commitment to this must come from two sides. "On the one hand, the management of a hospital has to commit itself by, for example, helping to shape that content of training. On the other hand, when those physicians receive such immersion, they themselves take on entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, if you give people oxygen, you have to be able to answer it. The developed proposals of the physician heads of service should be taken into consideration. The combination of desires of all involved determines the real implementation of the training and its possible long-term effect."

Shared leadership

The distrust that is inherent in a dual hospital organization is turned into mixed goals and perspectives in part because of this collaboration. "Speaking the same language bridges the gap to a collaborative model of shared leadership," said Tom David. It really has to become a common project, then transparency grows and you start accomplishing things together."

"Within a rapidly changing health care system and the constant pursuit of better quality, it is important to involve your health care professionals."

That already sounds promising, but according to Tom David, the perspectives in the sector also calls for such an approach. "Within a rapidly changing health care system and the constant pursuit of better quality, it is important to involve your health care professionals in changes within health care. After all, the associated change processes are a major challenge for which you want to encourage as much engagement and involvement as possible. For example, hospital financing as we know it today will change enormously. Furthermore, you will not be able to work from accreditation to accreditation; you will have to be able to deliver continuous quality. Thirdly, networks will become increasingly important to meet patient needs in the future. As a director, you want to get your professionals involved in that as soon as possible."

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