As hospitals and health systems continue to search for ways to integrate physicians in any number of ways, an oft overlooked aspect in the integration efforts is activity aimed at improving the physician experience. Sadly it appears that little effort is made in the critical success factor.
What's wrong with this picture?
If you are really serious about integrating physicians, beyond the control of patients and while in still the fee-for-service payment model growing revenue and volume, you must, not need too, but you must make changes in the physician experience in your organization.
No matter that the healthcare consumer is in the beginning stages of learning how to be empowered. No matter that the payment model is changing from a production-based, to a risk and quality-based. No matter, that you are employing physicians. If you want to successful integrate and grow, you need to change the physician experience with your healthcare organization.
Face it. Nothing happens unless you have a physicians order. No test. No surgery. No home health care. No specialty drug. No nothing.
What will bring you the greatest Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)?
Running ads that tell consumers are how great you are because you just got an award? Or focusing considerable time, resources and energy on improving the physician experience across all your organizational touch-points? Highly satisfied physicians will see you as an efficient and efficient hospital, health system or specialty pharmacy for example, who allows them to do that they do best, practice medicine? As a side note, research is now showing the consumer doesn't believe the award ads anyway.
Its about their experience in admitting, treating and referring patients to your emergency room, hospital, pharmacy, surgical center or a home care agency to name a few of the providers docs deal with on a daily basis. How easy is it for them to practice medicine in your facility? How many complaints do they get from their patients about you? How do you lessen the hassle factor for them to do what they want? Namely, practice medicine.
More than your own perceived features and benefits.
Be ready to make changes in how you do things. When your physician liaison, account rep, or insert title here person comes back, and says he or she is finding obstacles that physicians are encountering in admitting or practicing medicine in your organization, be ready to make meaningful changes. If not, you're just wasting your time and money sending out people to a physician or multispecialty group.
Bottom line, successfully improving your physician experiences makes for more effective and efficient physicians. And the direct impact of that combined with effective practice management is lower cost, higher quality, profitable practices and opportunities for more effective marketing.
Did I mention more satisfied patients too?
Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 4,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.