It may be a new year, but access expansion is still a top priority for medical group executives. While expanded access is clearly beneficial to the health system and patients, those benefits require sacrifice and flexibility from physicians. This is why many systems are taking a segmented approach in this area, focusing on specific groups of physicians and patients as the most effective way to execute their access expansion goals.
Quick recap: Segmenting your access strategy by partnership status
One way to segment access expansion efforts is by physician partnership status. Employed physicians are often the path of least resistance for access expansion when compared to those in independent practice. The medical group can also serve as a great learning lab for process improvement efforts that, once proven effective, can be implemented on a larger scale.
For more on this method of segmenting, read our recent blog post to learn how Advocate Medical Group has emerged as the system's leader for access expansion even in the presence of a robust clinical integration network (CIN). You'll also see how Baylor Scott & White Health has successfully piloted new access strategies among its employed physicians prior to rolling out these initiatives to the broader organization.
An alternative: Segment your access strategy by patient group
Another way that health systems can segment their approach to access expansion is by focusing on specific patient groups, mapping their efforts to the type of access that different patients need. This access strategy can be broken down into two steps:
- Design services for a target population
One organization, ChenMed, has carved out a niche market by predominantly serving Medicare-eligible, moderate-income, high-acuity patients. ChenMed created an intensivist care model that offers a broad range of services including on-site prescription refills, specialty care, and van pickup for patients. In providing access for this particular patient group, ChenMed boasts low patient panel sizes while offering a broad range of consumer-driven, connective services.
Comparatively, One Medical's consumerism model targets a different niche market altogether, but, again, with access as the key factor. One Medical focuses on low-acuity patients willing to pay for premium health care services. Therefore, its model prioritizes convenient access, with services like same-or-next-day appointments, mobile scheduling, and 24/7/365 virtual care.
- Translate segmentation to a broader population
Of course, system-affiliated medical groups typically serve a much wider variety of patients. But that doesn't mean they can't take a similar approach.
Stanford Health Care has successfully pursued a multi-faceted primary care strategy that provides four different care models depending on the level and frequency of care the patient requires. Stanford's concierge medicine model is designed for consumer-driven, high-touch patients who prioritize convenient access and are willing to pay for it. Meanwhile, the ClickWell Care model of free prescription delivery and e-visits is targeted toward patients who are covered by Stanford's ACO but may require less intensive care.