After reviewing our series of four blogs on physician integration that
were posted last April and May, numerous readers have emailed, inquiring
whether Royer-Maddox-Herron Advisors has specific strategies to recommend
regarding putting physicians on the offensive in support of positive transformations
changes in the healthcare delivery processes and procedures. Fortunately,
our answer is yes.
Before we enumerate them specifically in this two part series, it seems
to us worthwhile to review once again the present state of many of the
physicians with whom we are interacting as we work with clients across
1. Many physicians are very angry with their Local, State, and Federal
Governments, Insurance Companies, and the administrators of the hospitals
where they work. They see these people and organizations as their ENEMY.
2. Unfortunately, physicians have “no common voice” today.
Older physicians think differently than younger ones, specialists think
differently than primary care providers, female physicians understandably
often approach their practices differently than their male counterparts,
and the rapidly evolving “mixed model” of employed physicians,
contracted providers, and independent practitioners cause much suspicion,
tension, and challenges related to the integration of their different
mindsets and cultures.
3. A recent study verified that less than 25% of male physicians and 35%
of female physicians are satisfied with their work and profession. The
AMA has reported an increase in the “early retirement” that
many older physicians are undertaking.
As a result of their “present state”, physicians, individually,
and as a group, will often speak negatively with highly charged emotionally
driven comments and accusations. They will often suggest that we need
to “march on” the governments, insurance companies, and hospital
leaders telling them how wrong they are and insist that they change. Their
positions are being fueled by the delays in implementation of some parts
of the Affordable Care Act, the growing resistance to Obamacare among
State and Federal Legislators, and the increasing percentage of the public
who are now not supportive of the changes proposed in the healthcare law.
Therefore, it seems obvious that strategies must be developed and implemented
so that physicians can respond as well-informed professionals putting
forth their positions based on careful analysis of accurate data. The
partners at Royer-Maddox-Herron Advisors have used such strategies successfully.
Before implementing these proven approaches it is important to create
alignment and understanding with your physician audience. It is critical to:
1. Let the physicians know during your interactions with them that you
understand why they are angry, and acknowledge that they have some good
reasons for their negativity,
2. Let them know that you understand that some of the things being done
by the “enemy” do not make logical sense.
3. But, clarify for them that there is a significant amount of poor quality
and high cost associated with the current healthcare product, often resulting
in the overuse or misuse of clinical resources. They must recognize that
such practices are no longer acceptable nor affordable. Hence, changes
must occur and they must lead!
4. Let the doctors know that you know they are in the “driver’s
seat” and must take a leadership role in implementing the necessary
transformational changes related to quality, safety, and cost. They write
the orders, they demand the level of labor support, and they utilize the supplies.
5. Reaffirm for them that little good and sustainable change comes from
being on the “defensive”.
6. Firmly suggest that they need to go on the “offensive”.
Give them concrete examples that have worked in the relatively recent past:
a. Physicians played an active role in getting Tort Reform passed in Texas
and other states; and
b. The push-back from many providers, including physicians, was responsible
for getting the implementation of IDC-10 delayed.
Now, what are some more specific offensive strategies that physicians should
consider? Next week’s blog will address such in Part II of this series.