As hospitals and health systems strive to succeed in a rapidly changing industry, it’s crucial that they get physicians involved in not only efforts to improve quality of care but also cost reduction, according to Rob Schreiner, MD, managing director at Huron Healthcare, a healthcare management consulting firm.
Here are three things to know about getting physicians to care about the financial aspect of healthcare, according Dr. Schreiner.
1. Physician leadership is necessary for hospitals and health systems seeking to control costs as they transition to value-based payment models. “In the new world of shared risk, health systems may thrive or fail based on how committed their physicians are to the imperative of reducing costs while increasing quality,” Dr. Schreiner said.
2. Getting physicians to care about spending could require a cultural shift. Physicians are usually culturally conditioned to shy away from thinking about costs. “Physicians will say, ‘My professional fees represent less than 20 percent of the cost of healthcare,'” Dr. Schreiner said. “Or, ‘I have no control over the cost of new pharmaceuticals, a day in the hospital or whether my patient uses the ED when she should have come to see me.’ These responses address the fee-for-service environment, but don’t support the new payment models.”
3. Hospitals and health systems need to encourage physician commitment and participation to cost reduction efforts to overcome cultural conditioning. Measurement, accountability and communication are all key to helping physicians build a culture of responsible resource stewardship, according to Dr. Schreiner: “Physicians need to see the metrics and understand how they impact the mission. Effective physician governance structures are also essential to encourage ownership and leadership.”