Cultivating Purposeful Partnerships with Facility Leaders and Frontline Teams

June 29, 2022

Partnerships between practices and facilities revolve around the individual relationships built at any level of healthcare. In our June Zotec Shares webinar, Skip Courtney, EVP of Operations at HNI Healthcare, and Corbin Wilson, CEO of Radiology Associates of North Texas, share insights on cultivating purposeful partnerships with facility leaders and frontline teams.

Key Takeaways:

  • A strong relationship is built on the foundation of integrity and trust with an investment of time. Always deliver on promises made and hold people accountable when they do not deliver on their promises.
  • Setting intentional goals with a facility and recurring meetings with facility leaders to monitor these goals is critical to the partnership’s success.
  • Understand that every hospital is structured differently. Take the time to fully comprehend each facility’s complexities, meeting with each department to realize their impact on the partnership’s goals.

Read below for more advice from our guests on navigating relationship building and strong partnership ships from their experience.

What makes for a strong relationship?

A solid relationship is critical to all success. In the healthcare industry, people come to physicians with problems they need solving. Therefore, healthcare leaders must have integrity and know what they can and cannot do to deliver on any promise they may make. Secondly, relationships are an investment of time and trust, with the importance of understanding the other person’s needs. 

Why is it important to have strong relationships with facility leaders?

In any situation, 20% of the solution is in the hands of the providers, another 20% is a hospital issue, and the final 60% is working with hospital staff to create solutions to operational problems. Without a strong relationship and integrity with facility leaders, these become difficult barriers to overcome.

How do you have difficult conversations with facility leaders?

Difficult conversations are easier to have when there are already routine executive meetings. This removes the need to set up an individual call for the sole purpose of the difficult topic. It is also helpful to release surveys after tough conversations, as it allows for feedback that some people may not have said in the meeting.

Can you provide examples of how you work directly with facility leadership?

Before working with a facility, spend about 90 days learning about the facility and understanding its operations and pressure points. This helps to develop clear goals and a game plan with the hospital. Staying consistent in having routine meetings with facility leaders helps identify how closely the hospital is to the set goals, what is preventing them from reaching them, and how to adapt to make more progress. 

How have you seen trends change throughout the years? How do you grow stronger throughout that change?

Most change stems from mistakes and missteps in the past. Transparency in these mistakes is critical to keeping facility leadership informed and satisfied. It is also vital to display the partnership’s value and impact on the hospitals through scorecards and reports, to help facility leaders understand the benefits brought to the table.

How do you approach a large hospital leadership change? 

A leadership change can happen anytime for numerous reasons, such as retirement, promotion, or board action. The most important aspect is clear communication. Sit down with the new leaders to share what the group has been doing, how they have been doing it, and show the tangible results of those actions. Every leader may have their own goals and pain points for the hospital, so it is critical to identify those and create goals specific to the leadership. 

Is it important to have a shared mission and vision with the facility?

It is crucial to have a shared vision with the facility and a full understanding of its mission. Secondly, it is critical to understand the facility’s growth initiatives regarding their vision to allow the group to work with the marketing and business development teams to help them achieve their goals. Aligning the group’s mission and vision with a facility helps create more synergy in the partnership.

How do you connect with frontline staff at all levels?

Never go by the philosophy of “if you have seen one hospital, you have seen them all” because every hospital is different. Understand the operations, the leadership structure, and every department’s impact on each facility. Set up a monthly meeting with each department to fully understand what goals should be reached and how the department impacts those goals.

In what ways can other partners facilitate these relationships?

Make thorough and thought-out decisions when bringing in other partners, as they can impact a group’s reputation. Therefore, finding partners that go above and beyond patient satisfaction and data security is important. Choose partners that make the group better and who they can be proud to associate with. 

What is your top tip for building relationships with facility leaders and frontline teams?

Make sure that the hospital team members know that the group practice will address issues with providers and hold them accountable for their commitments to the facility. The key to building a successful team is realizing that the group of physicians is not independent practitioners. They are team members. Secondly, be transparent and do not avoid difficult conversations. Always acknowledge gratitude and appreciation for the partnership through thankful notes or taking them out for lunch. 

Additional Resources

For further information, Skip Courtney can be reached at Corbin Wilson can be reached at

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