Hacking Everything

The days, hacking has come to mean finding new approaches and work-arounds. Here are six new approaches to how we treat physicians.

I thought a hack was an amateur or a dilettante. In the computer age, the word morphed into meaning overcoming security blocks. Now it means doing the work-around.

Some think we are in the Age of Entrepreneurship that requires some new approaches and hacks. Suppose we treated all doctors like we are supposed to treat all Gen Y-ers?

1. Give frequent feedback: Today’s employees want to see the difference they make in their organization and be recognized for it. Instead of giving doctors critical Press-Ganey scores and productivity reports, how about showing some attention, affection, and appreciation?

2. Grant flexibility that puts people in charge of their fate: It’s important to create “step-up opportunities,” or roles that have room for constant expansion and the opportunity to push the boundaries. The single biggest cause of job stress and burnout is lack of control. How about giving back some to doctors?

3. Provide more coaching: Companies have an obligation to coach their employees and grow their potential for success. Doctors are trained to be sick-care knowledge technicians. As sick care rapidly changes to healthcare with new disease prevention and management strategies, they will need help bridging the gap. Piling on new responsibilities using an outdated sick-care business model won't help make healthier populations or cut cost.

4. Include everyone: Let employees collaborate with their peers and give them access to executives. They want to be included in the conversation, and feel as if they’re a part of something. Instead, many feel increasingly marginalized and dissed and pitted against "the suits in the C-suite"

5. Say “thank you”: Often, doctors don’t feel valued and appreciated. It’s simple, but employers and payers should never forget to say “thank you.” When was the last time a payer said thanks for practicing value based care and saving a ton of money on that last cancer patient you treated?

6. Rethink the send-off: Too many employers seek to exact retribution when a talented employee leaves the company. Then, in a strange twist, fired employees are given severance packages to dissuade a lawsuit. They are made to sign non-compete agreements and restrictive covenants. That system is backwards, and can create more problems for a company than it solves. Sometimes great performers leave—it happens. But they also, on occasion, don’t like the new job as much as they hoped they would. When you quit and found the grass was not greener, what kind of reception do you think you would get if you asked to return?

I don't think we are far enough along the path to characterize the landscape as the Age of Physician Entrepreneurship. Too few doctors have an entrepreneurial mindset. However, it never hurts to treat people nicely, regardless of when they were born. That should be SOP, not a hack.