Co-producing provider engagement: a novel paradigm 

Leah Zallman

High levels of provider engagement and low levels of burnout are associated with improved patient experience of care, health outcomes, healthcare quality and cost of care. In 2016, recognizing the importance of provider engagement, Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) adopted a strategic plan that underscores the importance of the workforce and declares its intention of being a great place to work. That same year, CHA conducted a survey of providers which demonstrated low levels of provider engagement. Using an improvement science approach, this project aims to examine and address the underlying causes of provider engagement. A key driver of engagement is how providers relate to other individuals (especially colleagues and leaders) at their institution. Because the framework of co-production encourages a focus on relationships, this lens may be particularly well suited to addressing low levels of provider engagement at CHA.

The project begins with a formative phase, in which the focus is on gaining a deeper understanding of the context at CHA through listening to key stakeholders and reviewing existing current data. The project then enters a developmental phase, during which the focus is to develop an approach to the problem at CHA. In this developmental phase, the focus is on engaging providers and leaders in conversations around how to improve engagement at CHA. Finally, the project enter an active phase, in which the goal is to sponsor small tests of change intended to improve the quality of relationships between leaders and providers and nurture a culture of provider engagement at CHA.