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A Framework for Engaging Physicians in Quality and Safety

The Issue

Physicians play a pivotal role in the success of initiatives to improve the quality and safety of health care, but many hospitals lack a sustainable plan for engaging physicians in such efforts. This study sought to identify the strategies used by top-performing hospitals that have successfully engaged doctors in quality and safety programs.

What the Study Found

In interviews, executives at 10 hospitals endorsed similar strategies:

  • obtaining physician buy-in for improvement efforts through an engaged and supportive hospital leadership;
  • using performance data to call attention to gaps in safety and quality;
  • enhancing internal transparency;
  • providing additional compensation to physicians for their participation in improvement initiatives; and
  • developing a physician agreement to focus attention on shared quality improvement goals.

Approximately one-third supported the realignment of financial incentives to engage physicians in quality- and safety-related activities, while another third opposed the idea. Interviewees also suggested standardizing the measurement of physician engagement to allow benchmarking with other organizations and across physicians within an organization.


Using these strategies, health systems can overcome significant barriers to physician engagement, which include time constraints, physicians' desire for autonomy, and insufficient medical school training.

Publication Details



J. M. Taitz, T. H. Lee, and T. D. Sequist, "A Framework for Engaging Physicians in Quality and Safety," BMJ Quality & Safety, published online July 14, 2011.