Healthcare leaders face challenges on multiple fronts as they try to redefine physician-hospital alignment for a value-based system that is just taking shape.
This article first appeared in the September 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
More and more, alignment decisions are pivotal strategy decisions. Although many dynamics are at work, the core concept is that emerging changes to the financial underpinnings of the healthcare industry will reward organizations that provide care more efficiently and deliver value.
The changes required go well beyond optimizing the cost components of the efficiency equation. While shared objectives are commonly part of physician-hospital alignment mechanisms, performance objectives and compensation have been largely based on revenue and production. Now, with efficiency in mind, many aspects of reimbursement for care are in transition.
In turn, that prompts an examination of the conventional role of healthcare administration in setting policy and managing the enterprise, with the result that many leaders are pursuing ways to incorporate physicians and other members of the clinical team in decision-making that hinges not on the number of procedures or office visits or patients seen, but on keeping a population healthy.
Previous concepts about physician autonomy are being examined. New approaches to physician alignment must acknowledge the role of physicians as partners in care transition, as supportive participants in efficiency measures, and as leaders.
Michael Zeis is a research analyst for HealthLeaders Media.