Don't Like Your Hospital's Policies? Here's How to Change Them


January 07, 2010

In This Article


Decades ago, before healthcare turned corporate, hospitals were called "doctors' workshops." Physicians called the shots. That era is over, but physicians still have plenty of opportunities to influence what goes on at their hospital.

Do the hypertensive drugs or the painkillers on the hospital formulary strike you as outdated? You can change that. Is there a shortage of registered nurses in your particular department? You can change that. Does the hospital electronic health record system seem out of tune with your particular specialty? You can change that.

Call coverage in the emergency department, managed care contracts, equipment purchases, the rights of a physician called on the carpet for an outburst of temper -- the list of hospital-related issues where you have a lot at stake goes on and on. Although physicians can no longer dictate what happens, they need not sit on the sidelines. You can successfully promote policies that benefit you and your patients as long as you operate as a team member, one who heeds basic principles.

"You have to play well with others," says Barbara J. Linney, MA, Vice President of Career Development at the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE), in Charlotte, North Carolina. "You have to listen to people, respect them, and treat them in a courteous manner." Linney and other experts have fleshed out how physicians can be agents of change in today's hospitals.


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