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5 Trends We Are Tracking at the Chief Medical Officer Exchange

Analysis  |  By HealthLeaders Media Staff  
   May 17, 2023

Physicians? Hard to find them. Harder to keep them happy.

2023 may be the year that physicians as a “source of skilled labor” in healthcare shifted in a fundamental way. Emphasis on “maybe” because some big questions are still unanswered.

A big question, for example, is how the provider sector’s deep dip in operational returns will affect how traditional systems embrace or abandon current physician employment arrangements, joint venture partnerships and other forms of alignment. Another question is less about the “what” and more about the “who,” as new physicians can now look at a growing pool of potential employers (payers, private equity) and enjoy the leverage that comes with it.

Someone who is always in the “required” section of the Zoom meeting invitations for these sticky issues is the chief medical officer, or VPMA, or whoever decided it was a good idea to be atop the pyramid on the clinical organizational chart.

There is hope. Hard decisions usually open other opportunities. But how to sort through the options?  We asked the participating leaders of the HealthLeaders Chief Medical Officer Exchange for the top issues they are facing in 2023. Below are just a few. For a deeper dive, the executives at the HealthLeaders Chief Medical Officer Exchange will gather Aug. 23-25 in Ojai, California to talk strategy, workarounds and solutions to:

Recruiting physicians in a shrinking pool

As one of the CMOs shared, “More than 550 ED residency spots went unfilled this year.”  For the longest time, hospitals health systems and medical groups were where the best doctors headed because they wanted complex cases. Technology, demographic shifts and the economy have made telehealth and “non-traditional providers” more appealing. The advantage for health systems may still be culture and the ability to do some good, but how do you pitch that?

Physician retention = constant engagement

Has this happened to you? The talented, high-earning physician you were sure was happy is now a little happier with the new competitor in your market. Satisfaction scores are key, but just part of an overall program that builds physician loyalty. Do you have a reliable system of touchpoints and feedback to truly know how your physicians are feeling right now? Are you sure?

Don’t forget nurses, techs and the rest of the team

If nurses aren’t happy, chances are your physicians won’t be either. A CMO is a leading voice in all conversations around the clinical team. Given the current instability in clinical staffing, how can a CMO push a conversation that keeps current financial strains in context while also hitting marks for quality and patient satisfaction?

And speaking of financial strains

When the nation’s big non-profit health systems are announcing operating losses and using the word “billion,” the overall sector will continue to feel the same downward pressure. CMOs and other physician leaders are key to encouraging and empowering innovation in the current downturn while also strategizing a path for a new kind of physician team to meet new markets in the future.

Putting value in value-based care and SDOH

The data on SDOH and the overall care in your community can be difficult to pin down, but the mission is not. Having a physician team that is aligned with the overall community mission--and looking for new ways to serve--can be used to advantage in the current physician market.

Do these issues sound like yours? Join your fellow physician leaders from Sutter, OhioHealth, Scripps, Atrium, LifeBridge, Providence, Hospital for Special Surgery, Denver Health, Baptist Health South Florida and others for three days of intense dialogue on these challenges.

Join us August 23-25 at the Ojai Valley Inn for the 2023 HealthLeaders Chief Medical Officer Exchange. To inquire about attending a HealthLeaders Exchange event, email us at Space is limited so reach out immediately. There are no fees and travel is covered for qualified physician executives.

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