Physicians can be excellent at providing healthcare to their patients, but often times, they know little about creating an effective business model for their practices. Healthcare consultant Andrew McDonald presents two uncommon approaches to improve doctor-hospital relationships in a Sept/Oct 2015 article from the Healthcare Executive magazine.
The first approach suggested is a co-management arrangement between a hospital and a specialty practice group designed to enhance a hospital service line. This allows both the hospital and physician group to have separate ownerships, but jointly manage a hospital service line. Specialty physicians, such as orthopedists, cardiologists, and oncologists are the best candidates for this approach because they represent high-cost areas. If specialist physician groups have the financial backing of a joint service line, costs will be decreased by establishing performance measures. Large issues, like hospital-based infections, can be controlled more easily when physicians partner with hospitals to improve patient care.
The second approach keeps the traditional independent ownership and operating structure, but guides physicians on effective ways to manage their practices. Physicians have more freedom to use the tools and equipment they deem necessary for their procedures. Physicians have the option of partnering with a practice management firm that can suggest ways for patient satisfaction to be improved, revenue to be boosted, and cost to be lowered. These practice management firms can also help with billing, accounting, and management services.
Multiple alternatives should be explored to determine which arrangement works best for your specific physician practice or group. Either approach will hopefully lead to a trusted relationship between hospitals and physicians that will help reduce unnecessary costs and improve patient outcomes, both of which should be primary goals of all parties involved.