6 Ways to Excel at Building Clinical Relationships


Much of health care supply chain is now working to connect with clinicians to reduce of unnecessary variations and waste to achieve CQO and the Triple Aim. When working to build a relationship with clinicians, your success factor will improve when you come to the conversation with an understanding of their personalities and needs. Below are six areas to consider before you engage them.

  1. Connect with clinicians often to build your relationship
    Start building physician relationships by asking what supply chain can do to improve physician’s work environment. Look for pain points you can help resolve and build trust and good will before asking for assistance. Too often physicians only see representatives from supply chain when they are being asked to change products or do something that they may not see as in their best interest
  2. Physicians are motivated by having a voice in the conversation, not only money
    Physicians resent the implication that they are only motivated by money. They have invested a great deal of time learning their profession and want to be part of the discussion about resource utilization and improving quality and patient care. Solicit their ideas on how to achieve a specific outcome versus trying to “sell” them on your solution.
  3. Physicians want to thoroughly understand the data before they will act
    Most physicians will not accept information without scrutiny of objective data and evidence. They want to understand the source and the assumptions supporting the analysis. Always be prepared with as much detail as possible and don’t become defensive when questioned. The questions aren’t personal, its’ how they have been trained to process information.
  4. Physicians have unique interests and passions – learn about those and adjust your approach
    Once you understand physician’s underlying interests and passions you can use that information to more effectively engage them in addressing supply chain issues. A physician who is interested in new technology could be very helpful on a new technology review committee while one who is engaged in research might have more interest in helping develop utilization guidelines.
  5. Clinicians need to be educated on supply chain jargon, the market place, and your facility
    Even physicians who have gone on to get MBA degrees seldom have had exposure to the supply chain. It is important to educate them on the process and how it affects them while minimizing the use of acronyms and jargon that is unfamiliar to them.
  6. Respect clinicians’ time and choose a neutral setting for an objective conversation
    Physicians are under a great deal of pressure to maximize their productivity, achieve high quality outcomes and satisfy their patients. Respect their time by planning meetings with a detailed agenda and an intended outcome. Choose a neutral setting for the conversation such as a conference room or cafeteria are good options – not the OR

For expanded education on partnering with physicians check out the Debunking the Myth of Physician Preference and How to Effectively Partner with Physicians to Get Results on-demand webinars and watch the webcast Understanding Physicians: Five Things Supply Chain Needs to Know. Search for even more clinical integration resources at ahrmm.org.

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