Hospital Impact—How Ascension aims to create a sustainable culture of care excellence

Joseph Cacchione

The current healthcare environment often distracts physicians from the purpose that drove them into the practice of medicine: caring for the sick.

This primary purpose is sometimes compromised by the challenge of managing paperwork and insurance demands while simultaneously facing the uncertainty of healthcare reform. The shift to value-based care adds complex layers to the expectations of our physicians, which creates potential for dramatic change in the delivery of care.

At Ascension Medical Group, we’re working to address these challenges and create sustainable change as we reimagine the physician and patient experience.

Historically, physicians have been autonomous thinkers too often challenged by bureaucracy. We must change the way we recruit and invest in our clinical leadership to foster professionalism, integration and diminish healthcare hierarchy of the past.

Physicians who feel they are engaged in decision making in their organizations are more likely to participate in value-based payment models, according to a survey by Bain & Company. This focus allows for clinicians to work at the top of their licenses, which ultimately results in elevated provider satisfaction and engagement.

Sustainable care excellence is built on the foundation of promoting growth in aligned primary care physicians and developing care delivery that supports new payment models. The shift to fee-for-value and new reimbursement models requires a sophisticated approach that appeals to the physician motivation to practice medicine. Value-based models measure physicians on quality and ability to deliver the right care at the right time in the right place.

At Ascension, we’re focused on ensuring that this developing culture of medical expertise is sustainable—allowing physicians and advanced practitioners to serve both patients’ and the public’s interests. This is all made possible by empowering providers with the knowledge and technical skills necessary for the most favorable medical outcomes and patient experience.

While clinical expertise is vital, interpersonal skills are equally necessary to foster a long-lasting patient relationship. Ascension understands that this aspiration for medical expertise coupled with a person-centered focus is a dynamic process of personal development.

As Ascension is reimagining the provider experience, we have also implemented a program focused on the career development of our physicians. We affirmed our commitment to focus on the talent development of our providers to create a nurturing environment that restores the passion for medicine and supports deeper meaning in clinical work.

This development focuses on the whole person, enabling our team of experts to consider their calling and develop their competencies, which results in physicians motivated to operate in a value-based system. This program underscores all of these principles and is a key differentiator in recruitment of providers who value an organization’s investment in development of the whole person.

Our ultimate goal is to continuously improve the engagement and experience of our physicians and leadership, which leads to patient satisfaction and retention. We are proud to develop clinical leaders who are equipped for broader responsibilities and wider leadership roles.

We understand that creating and maintaining a culture that supports recruiting, attracting and retaining physicians requires a multifaceted approach. We also recognize that transforming healthcare begins and ends with our physicians.

Joseph Cacchione, M.D., is the president of Ascension Medical Group. Previously, he served as the chairman of operations and strategy for the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart & Vascular Institute.