Many meetings and much collaboration between VCH leaders and members of the Vancouver Physician Staff Association (VPSA) culminated in the adoption of an engagement framework earlier this month. The framework, which is based on the IAP2 model that VCH Community Engagement has embraced, was introduced at a joint working breakfast of VCH leaders and VPSA on November 30, 2018 and was enthusiastically supported by those who attended. The group met again on April 5 with the goal to adopt the framework in order to advance effective engagement between physicians and administrators. The April facilitated session also offered the opportunity for those attending to apply the framework in a practical way to five core VCH initiatives that are underway.
“We’ve seen a very positive shift in engagement between physicians and VCH leaders since the Facility Engagement Initiative was launched,” remarked former VPSA Co-chair Dr. Lyne Filiatrault. “With the energy and collegiality that was in the room and the fact that we’ve shifted from talking in ‘us-and-them’ terms to ‘we,’ it makes me hopeful that the tide is turning.”
Adapting and adopting the IAP2 model of engagement
The adapted IAP2 model of engagement framework allows for several levels of engagement from inform to empower. The closer an initiative comes to the empower level, the more influence stakeholders have but it also requires more time and resources: projects sit appropriately at all levels of the framework; ‘higher’ is not necessarily ‘better.’
In the words of VCH Director of Strategic Deployment Lori Benning, who facilitated both the November and April meetings, “As you move up the framework, the ‘control’ for the process isn’t changed (i.e., the project management) but the ‘control’ for the answer is.”
She added, “We knew from our November meeting that attendees really liked the framework. At the April session, we had a chance to talk about why we should adopt it. Comments were taken via Menti and people told us the framework builds trust and offers a common language as well as structure, accountability and transparency. They also noted that adopting the framework requires a change in organizational culture as well as a time commitment.”
That time commitment is necessary noted Laura Case, VP, Vancouver-Richmond, Community & Employee Engagement. “You must go slow to go fast.”
The framework provides the opportunity for a group to stay talking about how they would like to work together to succeed on the activities they undertake. It’s less about where on the framework an individual thinks the group should be and more about if they are on the framework, what does that mean regarding structure, commitment, accountability and transparency.
To be its most successful, the engagement framework requires three Rs: engaging the Right people at the Right level at the Right time. In the words of leadership experts Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, “You have to engage all those who must make the project work—and in some way, all who must live with the results.”
Applying the framework
Physicians and VCH leaders at the April joint meeting also had the opportunity to apply the engagement framework using five current initiatives:
• Primary care renewal in Vancouver Community presented by Dr. Rolando Barrios, Senior Medical Director, Vancouver Community, VCH.
• Team-based quality improvement presented by Allison Muniak, Executive Director, Quality and Patient Safety & Infection Control, VCH.
• Physician development and leader evaluation presented by Vivian Chan, Director, Physician Quality, VCH.
• Physician wellness presented by Michael Ducie, Executive Director, Physician Engagement and Contract Strategies, VCH.
• CST presented by Physician Lead, CST-Vancouver Dr. Vinay Dhingra and VCH Executive Director, CST-Vancouver Michelle de Moor.
In facilitated discussions, attendees discussed how best to apply the engagement framework to these initiatives. Asked afterwards for one-word responses for key factors to help each project succeed, “trust” and “communication” were frequent responses.
Living the framework
“The task at hand is to take the engagement framework from being words on a piece of paper to breathing life into it as leaders, as mentors, and as coaches,” said Vivian Eliopoulos, VP, Vancouver-Richmond, Acute. “Through its use, it will become a living document. I feel so much pride when I see all the leaders who are here today and know we can work together with our physicians to make our organization even stronger. The VPSA group is also amazing; these conversations wouldn’t be happening without them.”