Accounting for Accountable Care
Who doesn’t love a good come-back story? For one 243-member physician organization with which the JHD Group has the honor of working, the story seemed more like a sad drama than a celebratory hero story. Going from a mindset of physicians “costing” a healthcare system millions each year and instead looking at the long-term value in enabling physicians to be a profitable pieces of a system’s healthcare business has made all the difference.
Now, that group is now a “comeback kid” with success under its belt that has other physician organizations and hospitals asking themselves how they can achieve that kind of profitability. Is it possible? Yes! Here are a few tips to add to your playbook for a Cinderella story of your own:
- Choose the right EMR for your organization, and understand fully how to implement it. Ask yourself a few questions, like: Are you able to see lab work across the continuum? Can you use your system for both your billing and your documentation system you use? If you don’t have the same product for both sides, does it interface with the other system well? Proper populations management necessitates monitoring throughout your system, and all that visibility matters as you move toward becoming an accountable care organization.
- Carefully consider staffing at all levels. Take a good look at your management teams at all levels. Ensure you have a mix of experts in the right specialties, so that you have people who concentrate on specific aspects of the medical group. Someone who understands the operations in physician offices and can work to optimize operations and efficiencies and is committed to reducing costs is a must-have, as well as someone with a good grasp on financials who can be critically important to monitoring the health of the business side.
- Optimize clinicians at the top of their licensure. Your office administrators need to have the same quality and dedication as your senior management team — it’s important that your office administrators are talented, smart people who can not only work the financials in the office, but also assist the physicians to make sure they can do their jobs well. Optimize clinicians at the top level of their licensure to allow them to be as effective as possible — consider the full capabilities of your nurses, aids, P.A.s, nurse practitioners, etc. Take a careful look at how you generate productivity in the office, properly using that mid-level to enhance the ability of the physicians to see more acute patients and those patients who need more time.
- Understand your role in the community. Know how your group fits into an ACO within the confines of your region and how you can work even with your competitors to help manage the health of the population. A naive health system is one that thinks it can do it all by itself, and that’s simply not true. All of the tools of the community have to come together to accomplish this, and you need to have good relationships with all of them. Know your part in making sure that the patient gets what they need. Keep your eyes open to opportunities to be creative in how you treat the health of the people in your area and what your role can be in that process.
- Learn how social media and online access fit into your marketing and operations strategy. How do you use social media to move your services forward? How do you manage all those social networks and who keeps up with them on a day-to-day, or hour-to-hour basis? Who is going to ensure you respond appropriately to questions, comments and messages? Smart organizations are taking a careful look at how to employ everything from social media to patient portals to connect with their patients and help them to be an active advocate for their own health. Dedicating professionals to the management of these initiatives is imperative.
Is becoming accountable care capable on your organization’s agenda? Get started today with a call to the JHD Group.