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Physician Integration: A Critical Success Factor

Physician Integration: A Critical Success Factor

A common question being raised by many of our clients working with us on their current projects is: How can we create strong physician integration with our hospital, health systems, service lines, or clinics? These varied providers we are advising all see that the degree of integration with their physicians will parallel significantly the degree of success they can achieve both presently and into the future. They fully understand and agree with a recently published statement by Jay Herron, one of our partners, when he wrote: “Health care organizations and doctors who can envision the future and then develop together a framework that can succeed will be fine. But those who continue to protect the current model, based significantly on competition rather than collaboration, will face termination.”

So to answer this critical integration question numerous article and books have been written articulating the best methods to achieve a successful partnership with the physicians. These have included most often physician acquisition strategies and physician employment models. But for each strategy recommended there are many examples of failures, often significant enough to put the combined enterprise at significant risk of failure. Why? Because we have found that many of these physician merger strategies have been like a “shotgun marriage”, where neither party really wants to be in the relationship, but both agree it is the best situation for the time being.

It is clear, then, that the past practices of the healthcare industry have often failed in establishing successful and sustainable integration with physicians based on a shared mission and vision and supported by a strong culture of trust. Hence, our past failures must be utilized as learning opportunities, helping to answer the “how” of the integration question with clearly articulated strategies and tactics which will prove successful in meeting the ever increasingly complex challenges that must be addressed in the healthcare industry. In order to get to the “answer”, Royer-Maddox-Herron Advisors has prepared a 4 part Blog Series to include the following topics:

1. Why is physician integration so critical for present and future success?

2. Why is successful physician integration so hard to achieve?

3. What are the key strategies to achieve successful physician integration?

4. How do physicians acquire the necessary leadership competencies to embrace successful integration?

Hopefully the knowledge and wisdom we will be sharing in this series, gained in part from our leadership roles in large group practices like Geisinger and Henry Ford, and in large and small hospitals and health systems, including academic, urban, and rural, will assist you and your teams in better understanding the roadmap worth following to assure both sustainability and growth, rather than possible termination.