Stakeholders: Simply put, they are the people or organizations that you work with, who may have an interest in your work or a stake in its future success. Before you can engage stakeholders, you have to have a clear idea of who they are.  Once you identify these individuals (or groups), you can craft your communication and interactions in a way that captures their support .

Types of Healthcare Stakeholders

Think broadly when compiling your list of stakeholders. You will be more likely to take good advantage of a wide variety of relationships. Some possible stakeholders are:

  • Older adults and their families
  • Health care providers such as other clinicians in your field or beyond
  • Management or leadership of health systems, academic medical centers, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, clinics or other settings
  • Nonprofits, public health agencies, civic and religious groups that serve your patient population or support your issue and policy implications
  • Researchers in your field
  • Public and private payers including Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers
  • Federal, state or local legislators
  • Leaders or staff at federal, state or local government agencies
  • Law enforcement officials and others in the judicial system

You may end up with a relatively long list, so it is important to prioritize.  Which individual or group is most important or must be engaged first?  This can help organize your time and effort in building support for your practice or policy change effort.

How to Engage Stakeholders

One of the repeated suggestions is to communicate early, consistently, and in ways that are relevant to your audience. See the Six Principles of Stakeholder Engagement for some basics. 

Additionally, you can think about engaging your stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of your project. The article Six Ways to Engage Your Stakeholders introduces approaches to involve your stakeholders from weighing options to implementation to evaluation.

Additional Resources

Five Steps to Identifying Key Stakeholders - This Harvard Business Review article offers five questions to develop the list of key influencers, and a simple strategy for grouping them to simplify your activity.   

Engaging Stakeholders for Project Success - This white paper from the Project Management Institute provides a comprehensive overview of mapping and managing stakeholders. 

This short video from MindTools on stakeholder analysis outlines the process succinctly and discusses using a Power Interest Grid to help you strategize how to engage and manage your stakeholders effectively.