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Capabilities Pt. 2: Strengthening The Business of Medicine

Capabilities Pt. 2: Strengthening The Business of Medicine

A “capabilities” concept is a successful profitability model that many professionals use in various businesses. However, when it comes to the business of medicine, many have never heard of it, much less implemented one. When applied to the healthcare industry, the capabilities model measures the degree to which physicians feel they can provide the best possible care to their patients without obstruction. As outlined in part one of this blog series — “How Frameworks Free & Empower Physicians” — this model’s success relies on three elements: tools, resources, and latitude.

Let’s build on the capability framework we discussed in the previous blog by identifying actionable strategies to set up your practice for financial success.

Why You Need a Framework for Financial Success

The capability framework can be applied to combat many issues that physicians and staff face that affect their bottom line. Here are some examples.

Burnout

With Capabilities: Physicians who said they were equipped and supported were 61 percent less likely to report significant symptoms of burnout.
Without Capabilities: According to the Mayo Clinic, 54 percent of physicians in America experience professional burnout.

Engagement

With Capabilities: More physicians agree with the following statements: “I would recommend my organization to a friend or relative as a place to receive top-quality care,” and “I am often inspired to go above and beyond what is required.”
Without Capabilities: Approximately 1 in 4 physicians said they did not have the tools and resources they need to serve patients well, including information about what happens to patients outside the office and actionable data about clinical quality.

Retention

With Capabilities: 76 percent of physicians who felt capable were less likely to say they plan to leave their organization within three years.
Without Capabilities: 48 percent of physicians said they would have trouble sustaining their work over the long term.

Productivity

With Capabilities: Physicians who felt well supported were 17 percent more productive as measured by RVUs worked per day.
Without Capabilities: 27 percent of physicians said their organizations did not have workflows and systems in place to effectively delegate work to clinical personnel. 

How to Develop Capabilities

Many practices are already engaged in tactics that support their physicians, staff, and patients. By intentionally looking at these tactics through the lens of the capability framework, practices can make leaps ahead in clinical and financial performance.

We have identified three actionable ways you can improve your capability to support key aspects of your practice: engage patients, empower your care team, and establish physician leaders.

1. Engage Patients

Capable organizations engage and activate patients by providing convenient access to clinicians. One simple way to achieve this is by providing a user-friendly patient portal where individuals can easily schedule appointments and pay bills. Also, your patient portal should create a direct line to communicate and engage with patients and should also allow patients to message providers. Easy access to services and communication tools improves your patients’ experience. This is also a key tool to help you collect every dollar you are owed.

Another aspect to have engaged patients is laying out health goals and clear milestones that are meaningful for patients. They should understand what their role is in making these goals a reality. You can do this by creating resources that enable and motivate them to be proactive in their care. Once again, patient portals are an avenue to achieve this. Other ways are to send text messages, follow-up surveys, and social media posts. Can you think of some more?

2. Empower the Care Team

Capable organizations depend on having engaged physicians and staff who feel empowered and able to deliver the best care possible. Creating ways for teams to share data and best practices can keep practices working as efficiently as possible. A physician-built EHR is one way to keep information flowing easily among team members.  

“Our system aggregates data from local hospitals, pharmacy benefit managers, and reference labs,” said Jim Sams, MD, CEO of Privia Medical Group — Georgia. “With the help of our EHR vendor, we push that data out to our practices so the right person has access to the information they need when they need it. When physicians know everything that’s going on with a patient, they can engage and intervene at the right point to get that patient’s care where it needs to be.”

3. Establish Physician Leaders

Capable organizations rely on strong leadership and put physicians in leadership roles. Physicians are on the frontline when it comes to improving patient care. We have recently seen results that indicate if physicians are driving the decision-making for organizations, performance improves while costs decrease. 

This culture of support nourishes accountability and empowers physicians. There are seven tools — ranked in order of importance — needed to accomplish this objective according to a survey of 1,029 physicians as high-capability organizations:

1. Clinical staff to support patient care
2. EHR and IT resources and support
3. Best practices from industry or peers at the organization
4. Non-clinical staff to support operational performance
5. Actionable data about clinical quality
6. Training to improve clinical performance
7. Information about what happens to patients outside the office

Capabilities provide a powerful framework that can be used to increase satisfaction among physicians and patients alike while increasing your bottom line. Try using the model to evaluate opportunities to improve the capability of your practice today!

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