MD Engagement Strategies Shared at 14th Annual WHA Physician Leadership Conference

March 19, 2019

More than 200 attendees gathered at the 14th annual WHA Physician Leadership Development Conference March 15 and 16. This year’s conference featured two educational tracks—one for emerging physician leaders seeking to develop or enhance their administrative and leadership skills, and one for senior-level physician leaders.

Stephen Beeson, MD, led an interactive discussion focusing on strategies and tactics to engage physicians. Speaking to emerging and veteran physician leaders, as well as the 40 administrator hosts at the conference, Dr. Beeson led a discussion that identified eight key elements that lead to physician engagement:

Post-hire development
Data feedback
Appreciated and valued 
Listened and responded to
Expectations are known
Leaders modeling expectations
Time is valued

UW Health CEO Alan Kaplan, MD, shared with more than 75 senior physician leaders his insights and experiences in his journey as a physician leader, and what skills and knowledge physician leaders will need to flourish in an ever-changing health care environment.  

Steve Kulick, MD, Chief Experience Officer at Marshfield Clinic Health System, and Chair of the WHA Physician Leaders Council, facilitated group discussion among the senior physician leaders cohort focused on:

Developing physician leaders
Communicating effectively with physicians
Improving physician satisfaction, engagement and resiliency/addressing burnout
Dealing with disruptive physicians and addressing conflict
Influencing physicians and strategies to align physicians with organizational priorities

Mike Guthrie, MD, worked with the emerging physician leader cohort on tactics and strategies for effective meeting and team management and effective group decision making. Dr. Guthrie provided several tools, including a general meeting planning map, and highlighted strategies for identifying the right size and structure of group meetings based on the goal of the meeting.

Eric Borgerding, WHA President and CEO, provided all attendees with an overview of WHA’s ongoing physician-focused priorities.  Borgerding highlighted WHA’s expanding physician engagement agenda, focusing on collaboration, information sharing and communication.  He also highlighted WHA’s advocacy priorities for reducing regulatory burden impacting physician practice, including the amount of time spent working with the EHR and time taken away from patient care. Borgerding also commented on key public policy issues, including the health care workforce and the success of the WHA-crafted graduate medical education state grant program, which will create 133 additional physicians in Wisconsin-based residency programs by July 2020. Notably, four grant-funded new or expanded GME programs will be graduating 12 new psychiatrists per year in Wisconsin beginning in 2021. Borgerding concluded his remarks with a summary of the Medicaid expansion included in Governor Tony Evers’ state budget bill, including its impacts on coverage and reimbursement.   

“I was so impressed with the engagement and enthusiasm of all who attended,” said Mark Kaufman, MD, WHA Chief Medical Officer. “Many physicians commented on the value of getting away, connecting with colleagues, renewing relationships and learning from one another.”

Next year’s WHA Physician Leadership Development Conference is scheduled for March 13-14, 2020, at the American Club in Kohler.  


This story originally appeared in the March 19, 2019 edition of WHA Newsletter