Health systems must make the most of employed physicians, and get the most value and quality for their money. Physician alignment and cohesion into a health system are key to successful and profitable integration.
However, a 2013 survey of 139 hospital chief financial officers revealed only 24 percent believed employing physicians would lead to a positive return on investment within the first two years of a physician hire.
Hospitals & Health Networks shared the five A's of differentiating physicians to give hospitals a competitive advantage. They are:
Availability. Do doctors make themselves accessible to patients? Wait times, front-line staff, follow-up, office location and communication play large roles in this arena. Another factor is how quickly physicians can schedule appointments and see patients. Emory Healthcare in Atlanta developed its primary care network after analyzing ZIP codes where there was room for expansion, targeting primary care physicians in that area to include in the integrated network.
Affability. Interpersonal communication, engagement, and genuine interest in the patient, colleagues and staff set some doctors above the rest. At the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, training programs emphasize behaviors like acknowledging patients, giving them undivided attention, expressing compassion and restating key information, according to the article.
Ability. Look for physicians who demonstrate quality, safety and aptitude for technology within their work. "The reputational aura of the hospital or group practice with which a physician is affiliated can have a significant impact on perceptions of that physician's ability," the article states.
Affordability. Transparency is key, as are bundled payments that encompass a fixed procedure price, as well as cost of travel and accommodations, like the Cleveland Clinic does for heart care patients, according to the article.
Accountability. Physicians must take responsibility for their performance, including the value of care delivered, outcomes and cost. Doctors must also be accountable to a hospital's mission, values and vision in order to attain strategic coherence.
"The challenge is to get the hospital leadership to understand you need to make an investment in infrastructure with knowledge and resources that are experienced with managing physician groups," said Allen D. Kemp, M.D., CEO of Centura Health Physician Group in Colorado, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.
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