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Actively Engaging Physicians in the Planetree Philosophy Robert Devermann, M.D. Aurora System Planetree Physician Champion Cindy Pfaff, Director, Employee & Organizational Development. Participants will:. Objectives-.

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Actively Engaging Physicians in the Planetree PhilosophyRobert Devermann, M.D.Aurora System Planetree Physician ChampionCindy Pfaff, Director, Employee & Organizational Development


Participants will:

  • Learn of various strategies used by Aurora Health Care to engage physicians in Planetree.
  • Learn how to develop a successful Physician Advisory Council composed of Physician Planetree advocates.
  • Review our charter for Physician Advisory Council.
  • Learn additional strategies for engaging physicians as developed by this Physician Advisory.
  • Query a panel of Aurora Planetree Physician Champions.
about aurora health care
13 Hospitals (building 2)

100+ Clinic locations

10 Dialysis Centers

10 Vision Centers

140 Retail Pharmacies

13 Quick Cares

Home Care/Hospice

1200 employed physicians

3,385 physicians on staff

141 Residents & Fellows

4620 RNs

28,000 + care givers

About Aurora Health Care
aurora s 1 priority
Aurora’s #1 Priority

Our patients deserve the best care. When we achieve top performance in our clinical quality, patient satisfaction and caregiver engagement, patients receive a better care experience than they can get anywhere else. 

aurora s planetree history
Aurora’s Planetree History


  • Opened first hospital

2003 - 2006

  • Begin conversion of clinics
  • Opened 2 & transformed 6 hospitals


  • Complete implementation of journey throughout system
    • Clinics
    • Hospitals
    • Pharmacies
    • VNA
    • Business Units
    • System Departments
aurora health care is committed to creating an ubiquitous culture of patient centered care
Aurora Health Careis committed to creating an ubiquitous culture of patient centered care.

So – here is how we started

the beginning
The beginning . . .
  • Physician CME
  • Identified Physician Champions at all

sites – clinics, hospitals, & home health

  • Created physician web-site
  • Create an 5 part educational module
establishing planetree physician advisory council
Establishing Planetree Physician Advisory Council
  • Sought Physician Champions Support
  • Modified name from Champions to Advisors
  • Developed a Charter
  • Agreed to Meeting Frequency
    • Phone conference every other month
    • Face to face meetings once or twice/year
council purpose
Council Purpose
  • Share experiences and stories.
  • Act as mentors to new physicians.
  • Provide support & guidance to each other.
  • Role model patient-centered behaviors.
  • Act as a resource to employees.
  • For new physicians
    • Patient-centered philosophy orientation at time of hire
    • Patient-centered philosophy at annual new physician orientation
  • Identify strategies to engage physicians in the patient-centered philosophy
  • Identify physician actions that enhance the patient-centered experience
target objectives
  • Help other physicians to understand & develop an active role in patient centered care.
  • Improve Quality of Care through patient centered care initiatives
  • Increase physician patient satisfaction score for question – “Likelihood to Recommend”
  • Increase physician Pulse score for “I believe that successfully implementing the Planetree model. . .”
highlights of council s agenda
Highlights of Council’s Agenda
  • Develop charter
  • Develop Physician Advisor Role Description
  • Shared advisor’s best practices at individual sites
  • 5-part physician education video modules
  • Enhancing patient education on web site
  • Open medical record pilot
  • Update on Patient-Centered Medical Home
  • Physician Wellness Activities Committee
council s workshop agenda
Council’s Workshop Agenda
  • Update on recent activities
  • Patient-Centered Care – It’s role in AMG by Dr Bailet, MD, President, AMG
  • Work Out Sessions
  • Physician – Patient Relationships by Dr Mike Marshall, VP of Medical Operations
work out session
Work Out Session
  • Identify strategies to engage physicians in the patient-center philosophy.
  • Identify strategies to train physicians on ideal behaviors and activities that enhance the patient-centered experience. 
strategies to engage physicians
Strategies to engage physicians
  • Use evidence-based articles.
  • Enhance & encourage the use of the Planetree website resource.
  • Implement “Adopt a Doc” program.
strategies to engage physicians1
Strategies to engage physicians
  • Build features of patient-centered care into our re-credentialing process at the hospital.
  • Conduct studies to show that patient-centered care results in better outcomes.
  • Demonstrate, through story telling, that we have opportunities to improve patient-centered care.
strategies to engage physicians2
Strategies to engage physicians
  • Suggest that physicians see the movie, or clips of, “The Doctor”.
  • Physician Planetree Advisors need to role model.
  • Find ways to allow patients to be more active participants in their care.
  • Patient-centered care should not take more time.
strategies to train physicians
Strategies to Train Physicians
  • How to give patients options, when possible, & getting the patient buy-in to the treatment plan.
  • How to do more shared decision making between the physician and the patient.
  • Provide a few key specific behavior skill sets for patient interactions.
strategies to train physicians1
Strategies to Train Physicians
  • If you can’t be empathetic, be polite and courteous
  • Teach physicians to ask their patients for feedback.
  • Videotape physicians with patients and provide feedback to them on ways they can improve.
strategies to train physicians2
Strategies to Train Physicians
  • Look at satisfaction data & identify high performers.
  • Be aware of patients’, staff, & physician partners’ generational differences.
  • System Physician leadership development program.
strategies to train physicians3
Strategies to Train Physicians
  • Develop a standard whereby physicians routinely schedule a meeting with the patient, nurse, and family members within the first 24 hours of admission to review the care plan for the patient.
advisory council s next steps
Advisory Council’s Next Steps
  • Physician Orientation – develop a toolkit of 3-5 concepts
  • Adopt – A – Doc Program
  • Implement 5 Quick Wins
quick wins
Quick Wins


  • Encourage physicians to welcome family members or friends to join conversations about their care if desired by the patient.
  • Physician provides patients with written key points of their visit.
  • Provide paper at the front desk for patients to make a list of questions or to take notes.
quick wins1
Quick Wins
  • Increase the utilization of patient educational material provided by physicians
  • Physician should communicate with their hospital patients when they expect to make rounds, and when they are available for questions.
key to our success
Key to Our Success

Find Physicians who are leaders

Find Passionate Physician Leaders

(who are both)

Find Physicians who are passionate

physician panel
Physician Panel
  • Robert Devermann, MD
    • Vice President, Medical Operations
    • Family Physician
  • Andrea Gavin, MD
    • President of Aurora Sheboygan Clinic
    • President of Wisconsin Chapter of AAFP
    • Family Physician
  • Jeffrey Jordan, MD
    • Program Director, Aurora Health Care Internal Medicine Residency Program
    • Internal Medicine Physician
  • Michael Post, MD
    • Member of Marinette Clinic Management Committee, Planetree Steering Committee
    • Internal Medicine Physician
contact information

Robert Devermann, MD

System Planetree Physician Champion

Vice President, Medical Operations

Cindy Pfaff, Director

Employee & Organizational Development