Physician alignment a big barrier to improving clinical outcomes

The relationship between hospitals and physicians is the biggest obstacle to clinical integration, according to a new poll from consulting group Huron Healthcare in Chicago.

In a survey of 50 C-suite members and 35 payers and providers, most cited physician alignment, over infrastructure and workforce limitations, as barriers to moving the organization from a volume-based model to one of value:

  • 35 percent reported hospital-physician relationships as the greatest barrier
  • 31 percent said IT infrastructure
  • 19 percent cited funding for infrastructure
  • 9 percent said local market dynamics
  • 6 percent reported inadequate supply of primary care physicians

Clinical utilization is on the top of healthcare executives' minds, according to the survey, with 38 percent citing it as their key concern on costs.

About three-quarters (71 percent) said clinical operations and care delivery is the biggest opportunity for cutting cost, following workforce optimization (21 percent) and supply chain and other nonlabor costs (8 percent), according to Huron Healthcare.

The survey data suggest that hospital initiatives make little movement without physician support.

Similarly, more than 64 percent of healthcare leaders said physician buy-in for quality and safety initiatives is the top objective in physician alignment, according to a HealthLeaders Media 2012 survey.

According to William B. Riley, chief medical officer at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land (Texas), one way to gain physician buy-in is through communication, he told HealthLeaders last month.

"If you give physicians information and data, physicians will usually be on board, and they will appreciate being part of the process," Riley told the magazine.

For more information:
- see the Huron Healthcare announcement
- here's the HealthLeaders Media 2012 survey and article

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