Why Patient Loss is More than a Calculation of Supply and Demand
As you read in a previous blog, a Community Physician and Provider Demand Analysis is essentially a math problem—determine supply, determine demand, and subtract. Your facility’s growth or decline in market share is closely tied to the physicians who are available in your service area. If you don’t have the right number of physicians to support the number of patients in your service area, they will likely go elsewhere to receive care.
But when looked at more holistically, a Community Physician and Provider Demand Analysis is not quite so black and white. In fact, there are many nuances to the math problem. As your hospital works to determine the right number of physicians needed to retain your patients, the following must be considered:
- How will you treat advanced practice providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, and others? Leave them out and you run the risk of underestimating provider supply in your market. You must decide whether advanced practice providers are .75 of a physician or .80 for primary care advanced practice providers.
- Account for demographics. If you have a very high pediatric population, you can’t use a straight population to physician ratio. You have to adjust for the demographics of your population. Managed care is another point of strategic thinking that has to be considered. Do you have more or less managed care in your market that you need to account for? Higher managed care typically requires more primary care providers.
- How do you account for retirements in the physician demand model? Hospitals need to include birthdates or medical school graduate rates in the analysis to adjust based on physicians over 65 or who have 30 years or more in practice. You may overestimate supply if you don’t remove these physicians. Scenario planning is a key factor when conducting a Community Physician and Provider Demand Analysis.
- TALK to your physicians. The most logical points of contact for regular discussions with key physicians are the CEO and the physician relations liaison. You can hire consultants to ask physicians questions as part of the physician demand analysis, but you need to keep a finger on the pulse of your most important physicians in a more systematic way. What are your most important physicians retirement plans? Why are some primary care providers referring patients to specialists at other hospitals? What type of communication do the physicians need from the hospital? There is no substitute for direct, personal relationships.
As we’ve stated before, a well executed Community Physician and Provider Demand Analysis is a win-win for both your hospital and the community you serve. Your hospital will increase its volume and accessibility to health care services will be more readily available to patients. Additionally, the information you uncover is useful for strategic growth planning, as it it will serve as a guideline for future physician recruitment efforts.
Stratasan offers a Community Physician and Provider Demand Analysis, which addresses all of the considerations above. For help in completing one for your service area, set up a conversation with Sean Conway via Calendly today. Sean will demonstrate how a physician demand analysis will help you more effectively project physician surpluses and deficits and plan for future strategic growth.