Communicate with the medical staff

The medical executive committee (MEC) interacts with many individuals and groups in the hospital. One of the most important relationships in terms of patient care is between the MEC and the general medical staff. The MEC ensures that the medical staff has good physicians through credentialing and privileging, quality improvement, and continuing education activities. However, the MEC is also responsible for communicating hospital business to physicians and ensuring good communication among the medical staff.

Much of this communication takes place during meetings. However, many medical staffs have begun cutting down the number of meetings they hold. Many have also adjusted their bylaws to allow for a more flexible definition of attendance and quorum requirements. With these changes, it's even more important that medical staff leadership enhance the flexibility and availability of alternative approaches to fostering open, timely, and accurate communication with the medical staff.

The MEC and other physician leaders must use as many means as possible to convey important messages. The following are some common communicate techniques that work well with the medical staff:

  • Develop a medical staff newsletter or website. You could also regularly send an email to medical staff members. These are good vehicles for informing physicians about key issues and decisions.
  • Create a telephone hotline for physicians to call with comments, complaints, or suggestions. A hotline lets physicians voice their concerns in a nonthreatening environment. Hotlines also foster a sense of interdependence within the medical staff; the MEC depends on medical staff members for information and ideas, and physicians benefit from the MEC's response to their needs. Just knowing they have the ear of the MEC can increase the medical staff's morale.
  • Schedule office hours for medical staff leaders so physicians can talk over suggestions and concerns in private. Face-to-face communication is an important element of any communication system; without it, it's very easy for medical staff leaders to lose touch.