How to give your cardiologists the support they need
Thursday, January 03, 2019
As an administrator, you know that cardiologists are often nothing short of miracle workers. A little-considered fact, however: these highly skilled and brilliant physicians often work under emotional and physical constraints that make their jobs difficult, even dangerous — and that can compromise patient care.
To give the cardiologists in your organization the assistance they may need, but may not ask you for, implement these important research-driven points. Doing so will ensure safe, satisfactory outcomes.
Communicate clearly about risk adversity.
A study from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital found that two-thirds of interventional cardiologists surveyed avoided performing a life-saving procedure for a high-risk patient, due to concerns about a potentially bad outcome being publicly reported.
Hospitals should help their doctors by making it clear that the most important thing for them to do is always to help a patient get well. A policy that would hand doctors the emotional burden of not offering a life-saving choice to a patient should be changed.
Give equal opportunity to female cardiologists.
Researchers from Duke Medicine report that only 12 percent of practicing heart specialists are women. Additionally, the researchers found that female cardiologists earn less money than their male counterparts and tend to get fewer chances to focus on interventional procedures during their careers.
Work on recruiting talented female residents for fellowships at your teaching hospital and check in with the female physicians you already have on staff to understand their concerns about their work. Also, make sure they're receiving the pay and respect their talent should afford them.
Double-check radiation protection.
Regularly discuss radiation protection protocol with your doctors to make sure they're provided minimum exposure on a continual basis, and that steps are in place to protect their patients optimally as well.
Consider a closed ICU model.
A study from the UNC School of Medicine suggests that an open ICU model, in which the physician who admits a cardiac patient to intensive care continues to provide care to that patient through his/her hospital stay, may not be the ideal therapeutic scenario.
The study recommends using a closed ICU model instead — this would mean a patient's ICU care would be immediately turned over exclusively to a critical care team with very specific expertise. That way, the most skilled cardiologists can do their jobs with the greatest focus, giving the patient has the best chance for recovery.
Ask for your doctors' honesty.
Encourage your organization's cardiologists to bring you their concerns and tell you what they need in order to improve conditions for themselves and those they treat. Working with your physicians to alleviate their stress in every way possible is vitally important — check in on a regular basis.
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