Improving Physician & Practice Manager Relations

Nothing rocks the boat more than change, something the healthcare industry is seeing no shortage of. With all the changes taking place, there is inevitable added stress on relationships between physicians and practice managers managing the groove of healthcare reform, compliance and revenue issues. Consultant and Coach Charlie Hauck of Growth Dynamics recently published a short presentation on Physicianspractice.com addressing the issue of improving relationships between physicians and practice managers.

In his presentation, Hauck offers three components for developing and managing more consistent, more productive and more profitable relationships between physicians and practice managers:

  1. Understanding behavioral styles – Managing personalities and their coinciding behaviors can have everything to do with the successful dynamics of operating any kind of business. Not understanding this variable can have a strong impact on a practice for both physicians and practice managers. Hauck recommends physicians commit to a behavioral style analysis to become more aware of what their behavioral gifts are and challenges when dealing with their team.  Coincidentally, Hauck also recommends physicians profile their management teams to see how they bestperform as individuals and  interact in groups. He notes that in times of great change and stress, are when people need to be at their best in terms of collaboration.
  2. Three simple words to take to work every day – “Nurture, Nurture, Nurture…” Hauck outlines the definition of the word nurture, “To develop to raise or to bring up,” he says, is an essential concept to bring to the practice environment. Without a nurturing environment, Hauck warns, physicians can’t expect to develop a high performing management team. And although employees are adults, they still need validation and approval to flourish. “Good bedside manner should not just be reserved for patients,” Hauck says.
  3. Open and Honest Communication – Is not a one way street, Hauck proclaims. With healthcare reform and compliance changes, job descriptions and responsibilities have changed dramatically. Not to mention the reality of how care is s delivered, and who pays for it. With all of this adjustment, Hauck implores physicians to allow practice managers the proper amount of time to deal with these bureaucracies and allow them to provide updates about practice performance. He suggests physicians should learn how to listen and support managers and provide an outlet for them during stressful times, understanding that information is being shared neutrally. A likely adjustment, physicians should see themselves as key leaders of a business and meet regularly as such.

Most importantly,  Hauck reminds practitioners that while embarking on this process of leveraging professional relationships, parties involved a) shouldn’t take things personally b) remember that everyone in a practice office will be overwhelmed by their workloads and c) conversations should start with the understanding that you are dealing with co-workers who just happen to be people as well.

For more information on improving physician-manager relations, growth dynamics offers a free guide following their presentation on Physicanspractice.com.