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Unformatted text preview: PHYSI CI AN- EXECUT I VE REL ATI ONS Communicate for Change Barbara LeToumeau, M.D., M.B.A., CHE, president, LeTourneau & Associates, St. Paul, Minnesota I n my last column we talked about physician resistance to change. In this column I would like to review an approach to physician change based on a "4-E" model of communication tasks. The four Es of this model are engage, empathize, educate, and enlist. Vaughn F. Keller, Ed.D., director of clinical behavior change at Humana Inc. in Kentucky, developed this model to help clinicians communicate better with patients; however, it also applies to organizations trying to help physicians cope with organizational change. ENGAGE The goal of the engage stage is to introduce and generate interest in the change. Interest may be positive or negative at first, but the point here is to start talking about the change. This step should be done very early. The tendency is to wait until plans are well under way and physicians are already talking about itoften in negative terms. When asking anyone to make a change it is important to first put in plain words what is changing. For physicians it is important to explain what is behind the change and what the organization believes the implications are for physicians. Ofi;en the nature of the change is not yet fully known. For example, when design- ing a new information system, the organization may not know the hardware and software needs or the business rules for the system. At this stage, admitting that unknowns exist is critical; furthermore, this is a good time to discuss what input the physicians will have in filling in the blanks. The more involvement the physicians can have in determining how the change will unfold, the better they will accept it in the future. The engagement process should be done in two steps. First, arrange meetings both formal and informalwith physician leaders. These meetings should have one-to-one pairings or be in small groups of two to four. Remember that physi- cians do not like to appear ignorant of change; this is the time to inform the physician leaders and answer their questions. Second, schedule presentations at meetings of existing committees. In addition, schedule general medical staff meet-meetings of existing committees....
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- Spring '11