7 Ways Physician Strategy Outperforms Traditional Manpower Planning

Traditional manpower planning is inadequate for success in today’s rapidly-changing healthcare environment. Instead, Healthcare Strategy Group recommends a comprehensive physician strategy tor medical staff development that:

  • Establishes goals and priorities, with a focus on creating market power and financial strength;
  • Positions the organization to be proactive, capitalize on opportunities and effectively allocate resources by providing an organizational foundation for action;
  • Addresses reform challenges;
  • Sets a budget; and
  • Connects medical staff development with the organization’s strategic goals.
The 7 Advantages of a Physician Strategy
  1. It’s not just about recruitment. Manpower decisions need to consider loyalty, referral patterns, retention, acquisition and other alignment opportunities, as well as appropriate use of advanced practitioners and telemedicine. Identifying and prioritizing these opportunities is part of a physician strategy. It will prevent you from expending resources on physician recruitment when the same results can be achieved by building relationships with existing physicians or utilizing less expensive alternatives.
  2. It defines strategies for market development. Analyzing physician need for large market areas — primary, secondary, regulatory — doesn’t provide the intelligence to assess opportunities unique to subsets of the market. A physician strategy offers a deeper dive into socioeconomic and demographic trends, trade patterns, health status, primary care needs, market share, etc., of smaller market subsets. It provides direction on the strategy and provider investment appropriate for those subsets.
  3. It addresses service line growth and reform initiatives. A physician strategy defines the physician relationships you need to achieve organizational objectives for service lines and reform initiatives such as clinical integration. How many incremental and/or realigned providers do you need? Is your primary care network robust enough and geographically positioned to drive required referrals? What physician complement and relationships will ensure patient access and improve care?
  4. It plans for the infrastructure and supporting capabilities your medical staff/physician networks require. How will you ensure implementation and success of your medical staff development plan? Are there gaps in supporting strategies needed to support growth in your network, such as marketing, business development, and recruitment capabilities and resources? What about facility and space needs? How will additional employment impact the management infrastructure and related expense? How will you manage incremental relationships with independent physicians?
  5. It considers that organizational strategy will not remain constant. The healthcare environment is changing rapidly. A physician strategy is designed to be in sync with changing organizational and community needs. It includes defined thresholds that trigger review and refinement.
  6. It can give your organization a recruitment/retention advantage. As provider shortages have grown, competition, turnover, costs and provider dissatisfaction have soared. A physician strategy/medical staff development plan ties recruitment and alignment initiatives to specific organizational goals. It provides a foundation for meaningful discussion and negotiation with potential recruits. Both the organization and recruit are better able to evaluate the fit on the front end, reducing the potential for unpleasant surprises.
  7. It provides a playbook for the administrative team. It’s not unusual for several members of the leadership team to be approached by physicians who want to be acquired, practices seeking recruitment assistance, and service lines demanding immediate attention. To whom do you say yes? To whom do you say no? Why? A physician strategy will help you address these conflicting demands and respond appropriately when the next opportunity comes knocking.