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The Importance of Hospital-Physician Relations with Tammy Tiller-Hewitt

The Importance of Hospital-Physician Relations with Tammy Tiller-Hewitt

Tammy Tiller-HewittTammy Tiller-Hewitt’s interview highlights how to keep strong lines of communication open between hospitals and physicians.

Podcast: Go to “Surviving Healthcare” to hear podcast | Download
Surviving Healthcare is a podcast hosted by Andrew Gitschlag. The interview transcript follows:

In this episode of the Surviving Healthcare podcast, you’ll hear insights into the current state of relations between physicians and hospitals, and why the state of their relationship is so important to the quality of healthcare.

My guest for this episode is Tammy Tiller-Hewitt, who served as a physician liaison for large hospitals for many years, and who now serves as president and Chief Motivational Officer of Tiller-Hewitt HeathCare Strategies, a firm that sets up physician liaisons for hospitals throughout the country.

We begin our conversation with a discussion of the importance of strong communication between hospitals and physicians, and the key role the liaison plays in keeping those lines of communication open. Mrs. Tiller-Hewitt explains the roles of each player in the system, from patients to hospital administrators and how they interact with and depend on each other.

Tammy explains why an organization must be easy for physicians and patients to work with in order to keep everyone happy. Thankfully, more hospitals seem to understand this and they’re using liaisons more frequently to make a hospital work better. Our discussion covers the importance of constantly measuring physician satisfaction and why a physician’s actions will say more about that than any expensive survey. It’s important that hospitals always act to resolve valid complaints and not just blow them off. The hospitals that choose to interact with physicians have a competitive edge.

According to Mrs. Tiller-Hewitt, the main issues physicians have with hospitals all have to do with communications:

  • Hospital administrators don’t inform physicians of decisions;
  • Hospital administrators don’t involve physicians with new initiatives
  • Physicians are made to feel out of the loop regarding hospital changes.

Of course, hospitals also have issues with physicians, which is why a liaison who constantly monitors both sides of the divide is important, because such problems are caught as soon as possible, and everyone is happy.
We also discuss the Affordable Care Act, and the adjustments all sides are having to make, as the system moves from what used to be a volume-based system to an outcome-based system. There is significant stress on both physicians and healthcare executives during the transition, which makes open communication more important than ever.

To end our discussion, I put Tammy on the spot asking if she could make changes to our system what would it be. She recommends that patients and large employers work harder to boost wellness and take greater charge of their own healthcare, and stop relying on “the system” to do it.