This post is the first in a series of three that discuss how healthcare organizations can achieve better physician alignment through the use of data analytics. In this first post, we will discuss why a physician alignment program is a necessity in today’s dynamic healthcare environment and can only succeed if it is supported by everyone across your healthcare organization!
The second post in the series discusses how physician alignment has evolved over the years, what tools a healthcare organization needs today to develop, and more. The third post discusses five examples of PRM data challenges and how rapidly advancing physician analytics is ushering in a progressive era for physician alignment.
Physician alignment is critical to the success of your healthcare organization. If you cannot secure strong alignment, it can have significant repercussions.
In a recent study sponsored by Accenture, it discovered that U.S. hospitals that deliver superior patient experience generate 50 percent higher margins than average providers. And according to another Accenture study, “seven percent of patients switched providers due to a poor patient experience. This switching translates to a loss of $100M in annual revenue per hospital.”
Indeed, a successful approach to physician management can impact your institution’s financial performance in many ways.
The Need for Physician Alignment in a Competitive Healthcare Landscape
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, it is critical that your executives, physicians, and administrative personnel stay informed about industry trends so you can continuously adjust your organization’s strategy to anticipate and meet market needs. The changing nature of your competition, the quest to improve the patient experience, and the ongoing journey to optimize conventional and new, innovative patient channels are just a few examples of recent dynamic trends.
Addressing these trends and tackling other business challenges are compelling healthcare institutions like yours to revamp existing strategies and implement modern technologies with the objective to garner more data and make more informed decisions to enfranchise both physicians and patients.
If your organization has not started executing a well-designed, well-funded physician alignment program, it cannot compete for the best physicians. Your competitors, who recognize the importance of physician alignment, will capture more physicians.
The only constant in the healthcare industry is change itself, which is driven by ongoing dramatic shifts in healthcare demand. Changing population and disease demographics, an increasingly urbanized population, unprecedented competition models, the advancement to patient-centric care, ongoing healthcare reform, and the advent of healthcare consumerism are just a few examples of the forces driving change.
In order to embrace these developments, and simultaneously protect revenues and ensure continued growth, healthcare institutions must create an ecosystem that aligns with each physician’s concerns and ambitions in order to extend its referral network and capture market share.
Physician Alignment Starts at the Top
The strategy to achieve alignment starts with organizational goals that are analyzed and incorporated into business development and physician enfranchisement plans. The strategy for success must start at the top, and fortunately, today’s health system C-suite executives are realizing they not only have the ability, but also the responsibility to contribute to physician alignment efforts. While the physician liaison program is most likely at the core, anyone who interacts with physicians is an asset in these efforts. Today, all parts of the health system can, and should, contribute to alignment success.
The ultimate goal of a physician liaison program is to increase in-network physician activity and patient referrals by building meaningful relationships with and improving services to physicians. The physician liaison is the steady contact between the healthcare institution and the physicians. The liaison is a well-trained professional and active listener with a deep understanding of market trends and the healthcare system’s services. On a day-to-day basis, the liaison works to cultivate a trusting, honest, and meaningful relationship — as the health system’s representative — in order to:
- Improve the referral rates with network physicians
- Identify out-of-network physicians who can bring in new referrals
- Promote the organization’s core and specialty services to drive increased specialist activity
- Escalate issues voiced by physicians and ensure resolution and communication back to the physician
- Keep physicians aware of changes in the marketplace
- Communicate new service/policy changes
Achieving physician alignment is a tall order that requires a great deal of persistence. Results are not achieved overnight, and a “salesy” approach does not deliver the desired outcome.
The next post on this topic will discuss how physician alignment has evolved over the years, what tools a healthcare organization needs today to develop and execute a successful physician management strategy, and how analyzing market intelligence data can be a highly complex process.
To learn more about how data analytics modernizes physician alignment, read Evariant’s eBook “Modernizing Physician Alignment Strategies with Data Analytics.”