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How to Fail at Moving from Volume to Value

Author: Michael Hein, MD

Leave physicians out.

Approach physicians as if they are a group to be managed, and not partners. Don’t invest in and develop leaders who are physicians. Neglect a culture of physician engagement. Misalign your organization with physicians.

Do these things, and you will fail, health care leader.

Urgently needed innovations to transform health systems to the New World of Healthcare will fail without effective physician leadership.1

8550483829_5085dae982_o (1)In the land of healthcare, there is a tsunami approaching. Unprepared, the sea of change will catch providers – physicians and healthcare systems – flat-footed. Shifting payment for medical services from a predominately fee-for-service model to a value-based model is well underway. Success in this future world demands leaders, all kinds of leaders, and especially those who are physicians.

A value-based world is fundamentally about measurably delivering care better, to a population, involving the entire spectrum of health care services. Hospitals, unless they are in a vertically integrated system, don’t live in that space, but providers do. Even if the system is vertically integrated, realizing the full potential of the construct will not happen unless there is physician alignment, engagement, and leadership.

The most frequent question I get asked as a health care leader? “How do we engage our physicians?”

I have good news. It is not rocket science. I have bad news. It is hard.

Because success depends on how skillfully we address this issue, I am going to write a series of blog posts on this topic. I lead an organization that is actively advancing into this brave new world. It is an important message for us; perhaps it has value to you as well.

Let’s begin with definitions, because they matter.

  • Alignment: a position of agreement
  • Engagement: an agreement to be wedded
  • Leadership: dominant influence (of the agenda)

When it comes to physician leadership, these terms are often used interchangeably. They should not be. They mean different things and need something different from health care leaders.

More about this in the next blog.

  1. Morgan Executive Development Institute, “The MEDI Physician Leadership Method.” Slide Deck provided and used with permission by Eric Norwood.

Photograph: Creative Commons, “Tsunami”  Gabriel Andres Trujillo, March 11, 2013, Flickr

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