Do Hospital Executives Understand What Doctors Care About?
“You don’t build culture by offering free snacks or a gym membership or open seating. You build culture by talking to people, and understanding what they care about.” Gary V.
This quote came from Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur and business guru. Some people love him and some don’t. It doesn’t matter. What I found interesting is what I found when I shared this quote with other doctors. The most common answer was “they not only don’t talk to us or care about us but we don’t even get the free snacks or gym memberships.”
There seems to be a schism between what the business world is doing and what the healthcare world is doing. The business world really focuses on employee retention because they know how important it is to keep good people. And it saves a ton of money. That’s why guys like Gary Vaynerchuk write these things. So, why doesn’t the healthcare world follow? In my book on Physician Retention, you will see some responses from hospital executives and doctors that will blow you away:
“So, to say doctors are lonely and feel they are having to do a job they didn’t sign on for (computers and electronic records) …. welcome to the 21st century. None of us signed on for this.” – administrator
“Our hospital used to be a physician-friendly place. The first thing the suits did was to audit how everything was done. They changed the whole payment system. Tons of docs left. Pennywise, pound-foolish.” – doctor
“I could go on and on with as many examples about the dark side of physicians as you have about the evil empire of administration. Doctors coming out of residency don’t even look to find another practice. They simply want someone to give them a check every two weeks. Is this a generalization? Yes, it is but a fairly accurate one.“ – administrator
“I remember the horrendous hype about MBAs running hospitals and making medical decisions. It was at that time that I realized that ‘physician retention’ is probably more important than ‘physician recruitment’. My prior hospitals did nothing to keep me and now they are paying for it. They can’t find anyone and money is being lost.” -doctor
“I believe that when individuals go into medicine now or even 15-20 years ago, they had the perception that doctors were almost akin to Gods. They were respected by every patient and every community member. That is not the case as much. It’s a different world and I am not sure doctors know how to accept this.” – administrator
“I was in a hospital elevator a few days ago. I was not on staff. I wore normal clothes. A couple of guys got on. One said ‘I like Howard, he knows how to control the doctors. The second said, ‘He fired one, and the others fell in line.’ They got off the next floor.” – doctor
“I honestly cannot see anyone purchasing your book who is a CEO or in administration. You have been insulting and demeaning. Typical doctor or should I say provider?” – administrator
It seems to me that this situation has become a battle between administrations and doctors. Egos are involved and that’s not good. But here is the result. Doctors can leave but the hospital will still be there. Hospital executives need good doctors and need to care about building a better culture like Gary Vaynerchuk talks about. Why? It saves them money on recruitment. Happy doctors recruit for them. Happy doctors don’t leave. And happy doctors make patients happier.
I have talked with (and helped) hospital systems do this. They have physician liaisons. They celebrate Doctors’ Day. They focus on retention and their doctors are bragging about their place of work on social media. It’s awesome.