Increase Patient Volume

The healthcare industry axiom — early, ongoing physician involvement in the strategic planning process predicts positive results — applies just as much to developing a Clinically Integrated Network (CIN) as it does to a strategic plan. HSG recommends physician involvement/leadership at every phase of a high-performing CIN.

Setting the Vision & Culture
Physicians involved at the CIN’s conception provide input crucial to the evolving vision. The same physician leaders who shape the organization’s vision will also establish the CIN’s culture and develop the shared expectations and behavioral norms that create a cohesive group. To permeate the system, these norms must fully penetrate the culture – a reason that involving all levels of physician leadership is critical to success.

Building the Structure & Governance
Tap all three levels of physician leadership as you plan the CIN’s management and governance structure. Senior leadership (CMO) should be included on the Executive Planning Committee spearheading the project’s objectives and progress. The Executive Steering Committee guiding CIN development should recruit middle and frontline physician leaders to augment the CMO’s input.

Each leadership level contributes unique perspectives. Project subcommittees provide opportunities to engage additional middle and frontline physicians. These individuals not only provide valuable input, but forge linkages to others who must embrace the CIN’s tenets. Later, as CIN development transitions to implementation, the Steering Committee often naturally transitions into the CIN’s formal leadership and governing bodies and the subcommittees become standing or ad hoc committees.

To achieve the greatest input and buy-in, involve physicians representative of the specialty mix, geographic distribution, ages, and genders of the provider network. Use subcommittees to keep the main decision-making body at a workable size.

Selecting an Engaged Provider Network to Drive Quality, Patient Engagement, and Care Management
A CIN won’t survive without an engaged provider network that believes in what the CIN is trying to accomplish. That network must also be intimately involved in fulfilling traditional clinician roles related to:

  • quality (clinical and operational),
  • patient engagement (involving patients in their own care and eliminating/mitigating/barriers – which may require getting out of the office and into the home and community), and
  • care management (a team-based focus on the most complex/recalcitrant individuals).

These functions form the backbone of the care delivery model as it shifts to population health management.

Pursuing Financial Alignment & Implementing Data Systems 
Provider network members must understand and be aligned with the CIN’s financial metrics and expectations. They should also be intimately involved in vetting prospective data systems. Physicians are key end users. Drawing on their knowledge and experience will achieve better outcomes. Cultivating champions to pilot data acquisition and analysis systems in clinical practice is the key to successful implementation and utilization.

Terrence R. McWilliams, MD, FAAFP

Chief Clinical Officer and Managing Director, Employed Provider Networks