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Leadership, Physician Alignment, and Service Line Success

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 13, 2012
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"Physicians have begun to turn to hospitals as a result of their being increasingly challenged by their private practice's financial situations," Savitch adds. "They are more than happy to turn the responsibility over to the hospital and be placed on salary or straight production or some combination of the two.

"That being said, I suspect that the more advanced service lines have learned that clinical integration can occur more effectively if it is combined with financial responsibility," Savitch says. "If that is the case, the 35% figure will grow over time as the service lines mature."

Hospital systems will work toward more physician involvement and examine expanded and new service lines, says Bob Ritz, CEO of St. John's Hospital in Springfield, IL. "From a market standpoint, there is a clear movement from volume to value, and the service line orientation is a great opportunity to create value," says Ritz. "Still, service line structures are very complicated."

The survey shows that healthcare leaders expect the greatest increase in patient volume in a heart service line, selected by 49%; followed by cancer/oncology, 48%; orthopedics, 44%; primary care, 33%; geriatrics, 24%; emergency medicine, 24%; women's health, 18%; pain management, 13%; and bariatrics, 11%.

According to the survey results, 72% of healthcare leaders say that clinical needs are driving investment in service lines, followed by revenue stream (71%), and patient population (58%). In that way, some healthcare leaders are becoming more involved in population health, with an increasing service line focus, while others are developing accountable care organization programs, Ritz says.

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