There is much written about the roles of doctors within hospitals and the degree to which they are engaged with these organisations and the wider system. Often discussions about these issues are couched in terms of issues of medical leadership and the need to get more doctors into formalised management and leadership roles within health care organisations.
Recent research on this topic from the UK and more recently Australia seems to suggest that this leadership aspect will only get you so far in achieving the engagement of doctors. The real challenge for health organisations and health leaders is about how we engage the broader medical workforce and not simply a few doctors in formalised management roles. The biggest challenge for health organisations over the next decade or so concerns how organisations can engage doctors more fully to ensure that resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.
In studying medical engagement I have used an interesting scale – the Medical Engagement Scale (MES) – as a way of measuring the degree to which doctors feel engaged with their organisations. This has now been used in a number of hospitals across different countries and the datasets around it provide a fascinating snapshot into engagement levels of doctors within health organisations.
Professor Peter Spurgeon was one of the developers of the MES and we have worked together on a few research projects in the UK. One of his colleagues, Paul Long is based in Australia and I recently had the pleasure of starting to work with him on this area. Paul has a fantastic wealth of data on engagement and experience of working with doctors and health organisations. What is interesting is we have worked on this topic collaboratively and separately and cover a number of different facets of the medical engagement agenda.
Peter is coming out to Australia soon and this provides us with a great opportunity to bring together our knowledge and think about what the evidence demonstrates in terms of engagement. We will be doing day long masterclasses in Sydney and Melbourne that will be limited in size so we can delve into the issues in detail with delegates and make discussions useful and relevant to the organisational contexts of those who partake.