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Medical group executives' most commonly asked questions of 2017—answered

February 21, 2018

    Every year the Medical Group Strategy Council receives thousands of questions from our members. As we settle into 2018, here's a look back at your peers' top questions from 2017—and our responses.

    Top four questions from medical group leaders in 2017

    1. My organization is struggling to get the most out of our advanced practitioners. Where should we start?

    There is a lack of consensus concerning the advanced practitioner (AP) role across both the industry at large and at the organization level. To cut through this noise, start by setting clear expectations for what top-of-license AP care actually looks like: APs should take on more autonomous clinical functions and allow physicians to focus on patients who require a higher level of clinical expertise.

    This can be easier said than done and physician buy-in isn't always automatic. Consider the use of scope-of-practice workshops to teach your physicians how and when to rely on APs—or even an internal one-year AP residency program. Then, hardwire collaboration into each provider's compensation incentives. Our research has found that an ideal AP incentive model rewards individual success and progress toward group goals. For example, reward physicians (especially PCPs) for high AP performance to counteract provider competition while promoting maximal AP productivity.

    Ready to take the next step? Turn to our study, Realizing Full Value of the Care Team, for a range of models you can use to increase the value of your APs. If you're still questioning whether to hire APs, use our AP Impact Calculator for a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of adding APs to your practice.   

    2. How does my medical group's net investment compare to others in my region?

    We've developed an Integrated Medical Group Benchmark Generator for groups to compare operational and financial benchmarks across more than 35 physician specialties. Groups can use this tool to compare performance across a national cohort of more than 60 medical groups. Users can modify the cohort to compare benchmarks between groups in a single geographical area, community type, or by number of physicians.

    In FY 2016, the median net investment for a medical group in the Northeast was $167,359, whereas the cohort of Southern states had a median net investment of $220,286.

    To gain greater insight into medical group benchmarks or see a live walkthrough of the tool, contact your Advisory Board relationship manager.

    3. How can I reward my physicians for the time spent on care management or replying to patient emails?

    We're seeing a growing number of organizations move toward a salary-based compensation model to encourage both quality and productivity. A guaranteed salary means physicians are rewarded for time spent on care management activities vital for building patient loyalty—a must in today's consumer-driven market. It also stands to benefit medical group growth and access, with specialists more likely to share rather than "hoard" patients.

    We've found that shifting away from a transactional pay model can even reduce physician burnout.

    Still skeptical? Learn how organizations have successfully implemented this model in our new briefing, Report from the Frontier of Physician Compensation.

    4. How do I attract a new generation of providers in today's hyper-competitive market?

    With half of residents contacted by recruiters over 100 times during their medical training, it's no surprise recruitment is a top-of-mind issue. Enhance your recruitment strategy with the following four tactics:

    1. Be realistic about market conditions: Before launching any candidate outreach, ensure the job role is properly justified and scoped to identify any parameters that may deter candidates.
    2. Create a pipeline of viable candidates: Tailor your outreach strategy to your audience. For example, regional medical centers and hospitals can capitalize on their ability to offer new hires exposure to medical leadership and an accelerated trajectory of clinical responsibilities.
    3. Outsell the competition: If a candidate is only focused on the compensation package, they're probably not the physician for you. Because work-life balance now considered a non-negotiable, look to sell perks like flexible schedules and job-sharing instead.
    4. Don't ignore onboarding: Retention is critical and we've found that replacing a single physician can cost up to $300,000. To avoid early turnover, implement a formal onboarding process to ease the transition into the organization and catch potential flight risks early.

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