Case Study: Building a Health-System-Level Physician Strategy

Background

A statewide system in the Southeast was struggling with decentralized decision making in its physician network. With no system-level plan in place, executives at the system’s six hospitals were implementing different physician recruitment and alignment strategies that did not support the overall organization’s strategic vision. In addition, centralized physician network resources were being asked to manage a growing network without a plan for the network’s growth, leaving them chronically under-resourced and resulting in poor financial performance of the network.

Solution

HSG assembled an overall planning committee, consisting of system-level executives and physician leadership and representatives of senior leadership and physician leadership from each hospital in the system.  Working with this committee, HSG facilitated a comprehensive, system-level physician strategy focusing on:

  • Geographic Growth Strategy – We divided the primary, secondary, and tertiary markets for each hospital into a “Strategic Cluster” and worked with the client to prioritize each cluster’s development based on market share goals, demographic attractiveness, drive time and other criteria.
  • Primary Care Strategy – We evaluated the system’s primary care presence and access points and compared it against the competition in all markets served. We then created a gap assessment to facilitate the development of a primary care growth plan.
  • Service Line Strategy –We worked with the client to come to agreement on the system’s “core” service lines, and put together development plans for each of them. We also identified other specialties outside those service lines where strategic thought was needed.
  • Advanced Practitioner Strategy – We helped the client standardize goals for using advanced practitioners across various specialties and built an advanced practitioner integration development plan for each hospital.
  • Physician Alignment, Acquisition and Recruitment Plan – We developed a three-year, comprehensive plan defining growth in primary care and specialty providers from acquisitions, alignments and recruitment.
  • Impact on Physician Network Management Infrastructure – Based on the Physician Alignment, Acquisition and Recruitment Plan, HSG assessed the gaps in the infrastructure necessary to manage the client’s overall physician network at the system level.
Result

This process generated a coherent, consistent, system-level strategy with buy-in from all hospital-level stakeholders. A year into implementation, the client is seeing a coordinated effort from hospital leadership in executing a physician strategy consistent with the system’s strategic goals. In addition, the physician network has been able to proactively scale its infrastructure, resulting in fewer operational challenges than would normally have occurred with this type of rapid growth.

To discuss developing a physician strategy for your organization, contact Travis Ansel, Director, at TAnsel@HSGadvisors.com or 502.814.1182.