Health system leaders across the country want to know, very specifically, what it takes to be successful in owning a group of practices. In other words, they want to know what it will take to become operationally and financially viable and to become market leaders in their community. In our most recent post, we discussed the goals of a medical group operational assessment and identified fundamental areas of business administration to examine. To analyze further, what are the benefits health leaders and their medical groups will realize in conducting an operational assessment?
Often the process of undergoing an assessment is as important as the assessment itself, because the evaluation process requires hospital and physician leaders, as well as practice managers and staff members, to:
- step back and take a look at the overarching governance structure, and
- step forward and examine the routine tasks and systems that affect every aspect of the business.
A Structure for Success
Perhaps the most significant benefit of an operational assessment is that it sets your practices up for success by creating the organizational structure—and governance model—necessary to build sponsorship and effect change successfully.
Specifically, the ideal operational assessment will promote and facilitate the full engagement of your employed physicians as partners in solving the problems that exist in each practice and in the medical group as a whole, which might include performance problems relating to clinical quality, service quality, or productivity. Provider engagement is the catalyst for all of the value created throughout the medical group during the evaluation process.
The truth is that health system medical groups do not achieve performance improvement without involving providers both at the medical group level (working with leadership) and at the practice level (developing solutions to problems in the practice setting). Once your physicians are engaged, you will be able to address the critical factors that drive success in the medical practice business.
Knowledge and a Plan for Implementation
An operational assessment, when conducted appropriately, will not only inform you about where your medical group is today and where you need to be in order to achieve the ideal, but it also will show you how to get there.
The tools and knowledge gained through the assessment process help to create consensus regarding performance measures—what they are, how to measure them, and what to do about the disparity between the medical group’s current performance and best practice benchmarks.
Three tools in particular provide the framework for implementation:
- A gap analysis, which provides an objective view of the strengths and weaknesses of each practice and the entire medical group—in critical areas of business administration—as compared to best practices and benchmarks that have stood the test of time and circumstance in a wide variety of geographic locations and market conditions.
- A set of clear, concise recommendations that will bring each practice and the medical group as a whole into harmony with best practices.
- A quarterly action plan, or QAP, which prioritizes the recommendations and includes a timeline for implementation (along with site-specific action plans for each practice).
The quarterly action plan should identify prioritized actions, detailed tasks, ownership of those tasks, and specific task timelines, and will be the implementation roadmap for all stakeholders to review, understand, and agree to support.
The operational assessment process also helps to develop a culture of accountability, which will be critical to your success in implementing the recommendations that stem from an operational assessment. By fully embracing and properly implementing these recommendations, the individual practices and the medical group as a whole can make significant strides toward realizing the ideal in all key areas of business administration.
Interested in learning more about conducting a medical group operational assessment? Gain access to the downloadable guide here.