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CMOs' most commonly asked questions of 2017—answered

January 18, 2018

    Every year, we receive thousands of questions from our members on a variety of physician-related topics. As we settle into the new year, here's a look back at what your peers most wanted to know in 2017—and our responses.

    Top three questions from CMOs in 2017

    1. My organization is looking to improve our ED throughput. Where should we start?

    Knowing where you stand is a critical first step to identify throughput improvement opportunities and appropriately set goals. To allow organizations to make an 'apples to apples' comparison, we've developed the Hospital Benchmark Generator. This tool allows you to compare your organization's performance to a customizable cohort across a range of operational, financial, and quality benchmarks, including "ED throughput time" and "ED arrival to provider contact time."

    As you plan for throughput improvement in the ED, it's also helpful to have a sense of future ED volumes to set expectations and tailor your strategy. Our Emergency Department Market Estimator forecasts ED visits within your local market by both age and gender.

    Check out our on-demand webconference to learn more about how to use these tools to set the right ED throughput goals for your organization.

    2. How can I improve my hospitalist program's quality performance?

    With the right support and expectations, hospitalists can have a profound impact on quality and culture across the organization. Our Hospitalist Program Improvement Toolkit offers a variety of resources—including diagnostic tools, financial calculators, templates, and best practice case studies—to help you overcome the major barriers to optimizing hospitalist program performance.

    Start by using the Hospitalist Program Gap Assessment to identify the most pressing improvement opportunities. This 30-minute assessment evaluates your hospitalist program's performance across 10 principles of effective hospitalist programs and highlights high-priority areas to focus your efforts moving forward. Then, use the additional resources in the toolkit to help you execute against these priorities.

    3. What organizations have successfully reduced cost through care variation reduction efforts?

    Carolinas HealthCare System, a 47-hospital health system based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has improved both cost and quality outcomes through their comprehensive care variation reduction strategy. The key to their success? Empowering physicians to lead.

    To achieve their goal of saving $40 million in variable costs across four years, Carolinas established physician-led "clinical optimization" teams in eight clinical areas. Each team has a specific annual savings target, and the physician leader has the autonomy to design his or her own cost savings strategy to get there. Physician leaders are also supported by dedicated financial, analytical, and quality improvement support to help them improve patient care.

    This approach has already seen significant results, with the organization seeing $26M in savings since 2015. And the work is so popular that service lines are requesting to start their own clinical optimization teams!

    To learn more about the nine key tactics that underpin Carolinas' care variation strategy, look to the full research report, Achieving Cost-Savings Goals Through Care Variation Reduction.

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