Whether your healthcare organization is financially viable in the near and long-term will depend largely on its ability to effectively engage physicians in transforming how healthcare is delivered and financed.
We’re not talking about the number of physicians who attend committee meetings or willingly adopt the latest software changes. While those activities are important, meaningful physician engagement is the result of a strategic effort in which the healthcare organization and physicians collaborate to develop a shared vision and goals that lead to better clinical outcomes at lower costs.
According to the institute of medicine, physicians could help save $242 billion by preventing avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions, preventing medical errors, improving hospital efficiency and other changes in care delivery.
$242 billion potential healthcare savings
Physician engagement allows organizations to successfully address some of the primary challenges facing healthcare organizations today such as:
- Acquire new capabilities and competencies
- Reduce costs of care
- Accelerate diffusion of cost-effective care practices
- Adopt new technologies and tools
- Create cultural change and true integration
- Foster data-driven decision making
Follow the Money
The largest and most critical trend rapidly driving change in the healthcare industry is financial viability. Now, more than ever, healthcare organizations are required to adopt new payment models, manage costs, provide value-based quality, share financial risk, and adapt to the rise of the consumer as a payment source.
Despite the fact that US hospitals and health systems have sought to reduce operating expenses and enhance efficiency, the Institute of Medicine estimates that approximately 30% of total healthcare spending is wasteful. Furthermore, physicians influence these wasted costs through practice variation, inefficient delivery of care, and missed prevention opportunities. These wasted costs include medical errors, duplication of efforts, care delays and avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions.
Engaged Physicians Create Value
When physicians become truly invested-in and engaged with an organization, they have a tremendous influence on both quality and costs. A recent study by Gallup confirmed that organizations with high physician engagement demonstrate higher productivity and profitability.
Because physicians directly influence the majority of healthcare utilization decisions, even small changes in how they practice can have a profound impact. So when physicians adopt best practices, use standardized care protocols, and are more selective in the use of healthcare resources for example, patient outcomes are improved and costs are reduced. Successful organizational changes are most effective when physicians are engaged in leading the transformation efforts.
Cultivating Physician Engagement
North Highland’s experience in enabling meaningful physician engagement strategies allows organizations to achieve their near-term business objectives and enable long-term change. Working with the organization and its physician leaders, we:
- Develop a vision shared by the organization and its physicians, along with goals for success and a clear path to achieve them
- Create a culture in which physicians are aligned and incentivized to adopt best practices and desired behaviors
- Identify, develop, and empower physician leaders to drive change
- Provide physicians with the resources, tools and feedback necessary to adopt successful behaviors and lead organizational transformation
- Develop a platform for driving ongoing organizational change through physicians
An effective strategy for physician engagement is critical for organizations seeking to improve quality, mitigate risk, enhance performance, and manage costs. In addition, greater physician engagement can provide the foundation for continued long-term changes including physician ownership and accountability of key initiatives, leveraging of peer-to-peer relationships between physicians, and creating a culture that supports clinical transformation and teamwork.
Meaningful physician engagement results when the healthcare organization and physicians collaborate to develop a shared vision and goals that lead to better clinical outcomes at lower costs.
We Can Help
North Highland’s team of physician and healthcare experts can help you determine the best strategy for improving your level of physician engagement, and provide tools and resources to develop, train and prepare your organization to improve the quality of care while reducing costs. Contact us today.