Many health systems continue to struggle with their investment in physician practices. Millions of dollars in investments have brought some positive results — stabilized volumes and health system control, of sorts, over their physician complement. But the groups are slow to evolve to meet the challenges of value-based care, present significant management challenges, and are costing a lot of money in the process, threatening organizational profitability.
In HSG’s work with physician networks, we see three major issues that are retarding progress. Two of those relate to management infrastructure, the third to focus.
Management Talent. A shortage of management talent is driving many problems. Physician networks are under-resourced; there are insufficient management capabilities focused on its development. Part of this challenge is natural — running a hospital is different than running a physician enterprise. Hospital organizations do not have a cadre of experienced leaders for these roles. Adding to the challenge is that, nationwide, the number of large groups has exploded and the supply of experienced managers has not kept pace.
HSG helps clients address this deficiency by helping to fill the gaps in management capabilities. Whether providing full-time, on-site management, helping organizations recruit to their management teams, or providing expertise on issues such as physician compensation or productivity, we can enhance your management team and extend its capabilities. Through our Management Advisory product, we can work on an on-going basis with you to support and develop your team. Or, with our Management Contract approach, we can operate your group and function as part of your team.
Physician Leadership. The second management gap relates to physician leadership. As advocates of a dyad approach, we recommend the pairing of a physician executive with an administrative leader. It is difficult to envision a strong physician network without strong physician leadership, so development of that leadership is crucial to success.
HSG helps clients develop physician leadership in a number of ways. Our physician consultants can mentor potential leaders. We can help you develop and enhance your network’s Physician Advisory Council and focus their efforts on the leverage points required to produce value. And we can support your organization in defining the educational plans for physician leaders.
Without the quality and depth of management talent required, your physician network will not reach its potential. Our experience can help you accelerate that development.
Shared Vision. The third issue retarding progress is the lack of a shared vision of what the network must be and how it must evolve. A common refrain from clients is that they have assembled a group of practices with differing visions of the future, rather than created a group practice with a shared vision.
HSG helps clients address this gap by creating a statement of shared vision. With physicians and executives together, we probe two fundamental question areas:
1) What must the network look like ten years down the road to be successful?
2) And for the physicians — Describe the group you want to create, the group with which you would be proud to associate.
The outcome of this process is always instructive. Invariably, physician leadership, physician engagement and management infrastructure are addressed in the vision statement. But also addressed are culture and behavioral expectations, growth strategy, care management across the continuum, physician engagement in financial success, and other issues. The vision statement helps networks focus and build common expectations, and, invariably, increases the physician engagement needed for long-term success. All are important to unleashing the value of the network.
Conclusion. Once these barriers are removed, once you know where you want to go and have the leadership muscle to get there, progress will accelerate. HSG can help you overcome inertia and propel the group forward. Whether through our Management Advisory service where we work with you to develop your management team, or our Contract Management approach where we recruit and employ your management team, we will help you develop the network you need for the long term.
To discuss how we do that, contact David Miller, Managing Partner, at DMiller@HSGadvisors.com or (502) 814-1188.