While physicians are likely to respond favorably in concept to hospital-based disease management and other clinical programs, they are less likely to accept their structural and functional characteristics. Because of their role at the hospital-physician interface, hospital physician executives are often tasked with implementing such programs. Given the challenges involved, a deeper understanding of the role of these executives in building the hospital-physician relationship will therefore be an important contribution. To this end, we surveyed senior physician executives at hospitals and health systems (n = 326), to assess their view of the hospital-physician relationship at their institutions, focusing especially on the role of medical staff cohesion. This article presents several of our key findings, in particular that (1) many physician executives identified their medical staff as having relatively low cohesion and (2) the perceived level of medical staff cohesion correlated strongly with the level of physician support for organizational priorities, the degree of constructive physician involvement, and success in improving the physician-hospital relationship. In light of these findings, we conclude by offering concrete recommendations for physician executives and others seeking to build medical staff cohesion in the service of clinical improvement.
Bard, Marc A.; Buehler, Michael L.; Epstein, Andrew L.; Nash, David B.; and O'Connor, John P., "Strong partnerships make good partners: Insights about physician-hospital relationships from a study of physician executives" (2002). College of Population Health Faculty Papers. Paper 15.