MSP and medical staff leader collaboration tips

In its simplest form, collaboration means working with others as equals. This can be a struggle for physicians, as medical education has generally fostered an individualistic culture by rewarding clinical skills such as autonomy, decisiveness, and independence. But for a successful physician leader, this individualistic style is subpar, or even antithetical, when it comes to reducing conflict and achieving positive outcomes.

Collaboration, on the other hand, allows a team to approach conflict in a non-threatening way, and it encourages putting great minds together for brainstorming and creative problem solving. In many cases, the outcome may not have been apparent to either party at the beginning, but the integration of solutions and merging of perspectives allows a new set of solutions to present itself. 

So, on a smaller level, how might this work between the medical staff leaders and the MSSD? One solution can be found in the “dyad/triad” management model commonly employed by clinical service lines. The concept is that the clinical leader(s) and the administrative leader(s) come together to form a leadership dyad or triad. A common example is an oncology service line run by a clinical physician leader and an administrative counterpart to coordinate all the activities of oncology care, including medical oncology, radiation oncology, and breast care.

Applying this management model to the organized medical staff would involve pairing the clinical medical staff leader(s) with the corresponding MSP; both also would be supported by the chief medical officer (CMO) if that position exists. For example, one service line might pair the chair of the credentials committee with the appropriate MSP to oversee the spectrum of practitioner competency, including credentialing, privileging, proctoring, and peer review functions. Another service line might include the clinical medical staff officers and the administrative MSP to oversee the medical staff governance functions, including bylaws, rules and regulations, accreditation and regulatory standards, policies, procedures, and the medical executive committee.

But as opposed to the traditional command-and-control hierarchical structures, some new rules are required for this three-legged stool. These include:

  • This model requires collaboration, communication, and true teamwork
  • Although each leg owns the overall performance of the medical staff enterprise, each is also responsible for its own piece
  • Blaming others is not acceptable
  • The success of one leg is tied to the success of the others
  • Efforts should be complementary and not redundant
  • Roles and responsibilities need to be clearly delineated
  • New solutions will emerge if everyone brings the benefit of their experience to the challenge and is allowed to be heard

Source: News and Analysis