With the evolution from volume-based to value-based care, healthcare organizations have been viewing the service experience through a new lens—one that puts the patient at the center of the universe and calls for a more coordinated, integrated approach to care. As a result, many hospitals and health systems are taking a closer look at physician integration strategies that can help them grow market share while providing high-quality services at lower cost across the healthcare continuum.
Each year on the third Thursday of November, we join with clients, partners, and other stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day. We honor the many accomplishments of rural health facilities and hope to raise awareness about the unique healthcare needs of the 62 million Americans living in rural and frontier areas. Health professionals and organizations in rural America are dedicated to delivering the highest quality care to underserved Americans. Here are some of the ways they’re leading the way on the national healthcare scene:
Topics: Hospital Leadership
In the last post, we discussed some of the reasons health system or hospital-owned medical practice groups might hire a healthcare consultant. We’ll continue in that vein here and discuss five more reasons you might engage the services of a healthcare consulting firm.
Topics: Healthcare Consulting
If you’re in the business of owning medical practices, you’ve probably heard the term “healthcare consulting” before. Healthcare consulting firms work with health system and hospital-owned medical practices to improve efficiency, optimize everyday operations, better meet patient needs, and increase the bottom line for the health system.
Several years ago, a colleague and I were presenting market research to a large audience of employed physicians and administrators. A few minutes into the presentation, a physician in the middle of the hotel ballroom raised his hand and said, rather adamantly, “Don’t call my patients customers! They are not customers, they are patients!”
Healthcare organization decision-makers often struggle with the question of whether or not to bring in an interim executive (often referred to in more general terms as an interim manager). One of the major barriers to this decision is cost.
This concern about cost makes sense, particularly if management views an interim as nothing more than a warm body to serve as a placeholder during the search for a permanent executive.
However, if you bring in the right interim manager—a seasoned executive with a proven record of improving performance and driving change—the benefits of engaging an interim manager can far outweigh the costs involved. In fact, the right interim executive can provide a return on investment that exceeds the associated fees and expenses several times over.
Working in a healthcare system can often feel like entering a time vortex. Tasks you think should take a day to complete realistically take a week. Projects on a 90-day timeline conclude after a year. Though technology has increased the pace of life, making actual progress seems to take longer.
In the 16 years I’ve worked in healthcare, I’ve found that many delays are due to departmental silos. Each department does what is necessary to make budget, protect staff from layoffs, and mitigate patient and physician complaints so they can fly under the radar as long as possible. This seems to be especially true in the modern age of healthcare mergers and acquisitions. Though multi-department leadership meetings exist, they often do little to build trust among team members.
To accomplish team objectives and decrease project timelines at one healthcare system, I found the best approach was to break down these silos myself. Below are four common-sense ways to cross departmental divides and improve communication in your healthcare system.
One of our clients, a large hospital-owned physician practice network, needed to quickly improve their financial performance. Their Rapid Improvement Plan included goals designed to speed up the cash collection process, maximize opportunities for reimbursement, improve coding and documentation at the clinics, and increase provider productivity. Sound familiar?
With these goals in mind, we convened in a conference room with about a dozen key players, including practice managers as well as representatives from information systems, finance, revenue cycle, and managed care. The two of us from Halley—a revenue cycle expert and an operations expert—began engaging the group in a conversation regarding the overall performance of the physician practice network. In our passion and enthusiasm for the topic, we seamlessly worked together throughout the discussion, even to the point of finishing each other’s sentences. This was just a normal day for us, supporting one another in our roles, and we didn’t give any thought to the impact of what we were modeling. But for the leaders sitting around the conference table, our synergy was a revelation: This is how it should work. This is the partnership of operations and revenue cycle in action.
As hospital CEOs take on more of a market manager role, it is crucial for them to build and sustain relationships with employed and private practice physicians in the community. We all know that referrals follow relationships—and that all relationships atrophy over time—so hospital executives need a coordinated way to proactively visit with physicians on an ongoing basis.
One way you can assist your CEO to stay focused on physician relationships is by creating an executive rounding program, where hospital or healthcare system executives meet with targeted physicians on regularly scheduled visits.The following steps will help you on your way to building an executive rounding program that is both meaningful and effective.
As a consultant in physician network management, I regularly recommend that healthcare systems contract with an external expert to perform quarterly audits on coding and revenue cycle metrics for their providers.
Because if you’re not monitoring metrics, you’re leaving money on the table. And not just a few hundred dollars.
One example of a revealing metric is the adjusted fee-for-service collection percentage. When we find that a client has not been monitoring this metric, we perform the calculation and often discover that they are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.