Saturday, October 11, 2014

Are You Improving the Physician Experience?

It’s a tough world in healthcare and healthcare marketing in general.  Living in two worlds, hospitals and health systems still get paid for putting heads in the beds with the production of care, while at the same time needing to be cost efficient and medically effective in keeping the healthcare consumer out of the hospital, if it’s a value or risk-based payment model.  It’s really a push-pull.  Keeping the high admitter’s happy while identifying the most effective and cost effective physicians for risk contracts.

Sales staffs targeting physicians are popping up all over complete with goals and objectives, territories and quotas for specific docs along identified disease-states.  The first time the sales person comes back to the organization with, “this needs to change" request it all breaks down for a variety of reasons, most likely due to organizational inertia. Nobody ever really wants to change.

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 quality-based. No matter that you are employing physicians.  

If you want to grow and growth is good, physician experience improvement is at the top of the too do list. It’s also one way to stop the out-of-network referrals and retain the patient and either save the cost or generate the income.

Even today nothing happens unless you have a physicians order.  It makes no difference what the payment model is that the patient is covered under. No order means no test, surgery, drugs, home health care etc.  No nothing.  Oh, and the physician experience is just as important if the doctor is employed. 

What will bring the greatest Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) or sales effort? Running ads that tell consumers are how great you are because you just got an award, or effectively and efficiently managing the physician experience?

Its about their experience in admitting, treating and referring patients  to your emergency room,  hospital, pharmacy, surgical center or home care agency that 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 the hospital? How do you lessen the hassle factor for physicians to allow them to be effective and efficient practitioners of the medical arts? Everyone is out there with the send to me, me, and me message. 

Be ready to make changes in how you do things.  When your physician liaison, account rep, or insert title here person comes back stating the physicians are encountering difficulties in practicing medicine in the hospital, be ready to make meaningful changes.  If not, one is just wasting time and money sending out people to manage the physician relationship.

To restate a common theme of mine, it is not at all about the hospital or health system any longer. It is all about the physician and healthcare consumer experience.

Have at it.

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