by David Markenson, MD, MBA

As I outlined in my inaugural column in the last issue of Colorado Medicine, physician empowerment and both elevating and highlighting in the eyes of patients, business leaders, political leaders and stakeholders the true role of the physician is the signature project of my presidential year. I am honored to be leading the effort to launch initiatives in 2020 that will lay a solid foundation for the future to support the clinical autonomy, professional viability and wellbeing of physicians so we can provide quality, safe and cost-effective care without undue interference or barriers to our patients.

Our work starting in January 2020 will comprise several parts.

First, we must establish a sound baseline of understanding on the extent of physicians’ perceptions and insights into the current practice of medicine including physician workplace satisfaction or dissatisfaction, administrative and other barriers, and patient and stakeholder perception across multiple practice types through quantitative and qualitative discovery processes. To achieve this we will construct and administer a survey to measure and gain your insight into the critical factors that affect your ability to practice as a physician should and as patients need more than ever. We will also seek information on workplace satisfaction/dissatisfaction, wellbeing, administrative issues and relationships with patients, payers and other stakeholders. This data will provide a key basis for the ranking of issues and development of solutions.

Second in this effort will be a series of listening sessions with a variety of member and non-member groups: physician leaders from small-, medium- and large-group employed and private practices; hospital and system chief medical officers; medical students, residents, UGME and GME leaders, practice administrators, hospital and system leadership, patient and business groups, and others. The value of listening during a time of disruption, change and dissatisfaction cannot be overstated; your voice matters! These sessions will allow me and CMS to more deeply explore the issues and will provide an important supplement to the baseline of understanding set by the all-member survey.

Third will be a report that ties together the survey and the listening sessions into a set of recommendations to further engage all members. It will keep the conversation going and allow for comments and polishing.

Finally, recognizing that the top driver of physician satisfaction is providing high-quality care to patients and that Coloradans are placing a greater premium on the value of care provided, CMS will develop partnerships with other organizations that employ physicians, advocate for cost-effective care, and represent businesses, payers and health care systems to meet these dynamics through dialogue and collaboration around mutually beneficial goals that improve health status and address cost while assuring that physicians’ ability to practice as physicians is supported with viability of practices, maintenance of the physician-patient relationship, and wellbeing of physicians. I hope this effort will get us back to where health care should be: physicians in partnership with patients promoting health and minimizing the needs for care but, when care is needed, allowing the best care for the patient at the right time, in the right setting with the needed resources, and at the highest quality.

Acknowledging the scope of the physician empowerment initiative, we are committing significant resources over the next three years to this effort. I will continue to update you on our progress throughout the year.

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, President's Letter, Resources, Initiatives, Advocacy, Physician Wellbeing Resource Center