For medical groups and the healthcare industry at large, the last several years have been challenging with the shift to value-based care. Compounded now by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting uncertain healthcare landscape, pivoting to satisfy evolving patient needs as well as enhance reputation as a provider of choice will become even more critical to retaining a competitive edge.
New challenges many groups are facing, as referenced in a recent report by The Advisory Board, includes a backlog of patients to serve as social distancing measures are adjusted, with likely no additional staff, potentially impacting patient and provider relationships. Likewise, widespread use of telehealth practices requires medical groups and other healthcare organizations to reimagine the patient recognizing that strong patient relationships are the lifeblood of any medical group.
Meeting Consumer Experience Expectations
According to our medical group leadership network, positioning a practice as a provider of choice among patient populations is critical to driving profitability and success, specifically considering consumer experience and consumer preference. As they consider the patient’s perspective, patient satisfaction measures and evaluation of provider performance can have a dramatic impact on practice financial performance and even survival. However, it also brings value in understanding the why and determining actionable approaches to meeting the consumer’s needs.
With a shift in healthcare and greater emphasis on consumerism, this increased focus on providing more than just top-notch clinical care is critical and includes addressing the emotional and behavior-driven expectations of patients to compliment the excellent care provided. As competition for patients increases, patients are making provider choices based not just on clinical outcomes, but also on whether their experience lives up to their expectations.
Leadership Competencies to Support Transformation
Whether its practices, operations, or clinical services, for a group to transform and to enhance their reputation with their patients, identifying the right leaders with progressive skill sets is essential.
We often hear the phrase “culture trumps strategy”. The reality is change initiatives can fall short of their potential if they aren’t addressing any underlying unconscious biases and complacent attitudes that might exist within those who will execute them. To be agile, you need agile people, and agile leaders.
The question, then, is how is this achieved and reflected within successful, market-leading medical groups? Consider that while strategic vision of administrative leaders is essential to carry an organization forward, staff and providers need to be inspired, engaged, and made a part of the process of change.
At Cejka Search, for almost 40 years, we have worked with medical group healthcare organizations nationwide. In those many search engagements, we have identified a number of critical leadership competencies common to successful medical groups who have effectively transformed their approach to nurturing patient relationships.
- Drive Innovation.
Successful medical group leaders recognize that innovation is critical to drive growth and new methods of delivering value to patients. This means having a clear vision and keen understanding of industry trends, and the implications for their own practice. Innovative and visionary leaders are bold when it comes to taking measured risks with new approaches. They exhibit a desire to know more and learn new information and understand how to apply it to impact performance measures in their own organization.
- Gain Buy-In.
Leaders who inspire others to embrace a shared sense of purpose and vision for change are highly effective in acting as change agents within their organization. This requires establishing trust and creating a collaborative environment while exploring alternative ideas and perspectives. To create alignment, successful medical group leaders keep clear lines of communication, and ensure that all team members feel heard. They ignite a commitment of others by creating an answer for the “what’s in it for me” question, and effectively distilling the information so each member of the team/staff understands what role they play and how they can provide value to achieve the vision.
- Strive for Results.
Transformational leaders understand the importance of presenting information and actionable goals for improved patient experience with clarity, focusing on milestones and creating accountability at the appropriate levels within the team. These leaders also bring an understanding of the value of assessing both progress and outcomes, to ensure data-driven strategies that truly inform interactions with patient populations.
While every medical group practice is unique, these foundational leadership skills are an excellent starting point when considering who might be the best candidate to lead your team in strategic measures to improve patient experience and enhance your position as a provider of choice in a challenging healthcare landscape.