How to Readily Identify Opportunities for Growth and Expansion
The dynamics of physician relations are perpetually changing. For now, there’s a seeming shift in priorities as a generation of physicians are placing greater emphasis on work-life balance and less drawn to managing their own practice. Additionally, as more Boomers reach retirement age, many are seeking options to transition out of full-time practice. Physician liaisons need insight and support as they work to navigate these discussions, track patterns to inform their conversations, and build mutually beneficial relationships. In this post, we’ll discuss in more detail trends in physician recruiting and relations, and how physician liaisons and those in business development can be better equipped to keep pace with the changes.
The Rise in Hospital-Owned Practices
Health system physician liaisons and business development directors are in constant communication with the physicians in their market, keeping their fingers on the pulse of behaviors and trends, and actively nurturing relationships. Below are a few of the common themes being tracked by physician liaisons, which help highlight key opportunities for hospital acquisitions.
It’s no secret that a large number of Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age. As they approach this milestone, many are ready to scale back or rethink how their time is spent, but not all are ready to fully hand over their practice. They may desire to work fewer hours and ease into retirement, something that could be possible with the right hospital acquisition arrangement. Selling their practice to a large hospital can offer them financial security and overhead support, while potentially allowing them to stay on for several more years and continue working with their patients.
For liaisons, these acquisition conversations must be handled with delicate care. The physician’s life’s work is being acquired, after all. The key is to make the offer financially desirable for the retiring physician, while maintaining sensitivity to the fact that the physician may not be ready to fully step aside. When handled appropriately, these acquisitions can provide a profitable opportunity for hospitals to take over practice operations, while simultaneously enabling a smooth transition period for the practice owner.
The Desire for Work-Life Balance
Many young, new doctors are approaching full-time practice with a completely different mindset than generations past. The drive to own and manage a practice is not nearly as strong, as there’s a growing recognition of the personal costs associated with doing so. Many new doctors want the freedom to have active, thriving lives outside the office, and they recognize the benefits of coming under the wing of a hospital.
Many of these physicians have learned from the generation before them and have seen how draining it can be to exist as a sole practitioner. When leading a hospital-owned practice, physicians have more freedom to create a robust personal life. The time-consuming administrative work is handled by the hospital and these physicians can remain patient-focused.
Between rising Boomer retirement and a desire for more freedom in younger doctors, physician liaisons and business development directors are poised to see exponential expansion for their hospitals. Ultimately, hospitals are in a prime position for growth.
The Hospital Perspective
While there can be tremendous positives for physicians welcoming hospital ownership, hospitals benefit as well. With primary care acquisition, large hospitals are able to extend their name and brand recognition at a deeper community level. Being connected at the primary level, there is also a natural avenue for funneling new patients into their system when the need for a higher level of care inevitably arises.
It’s important for physician liaisons and business development directors to be equipped with market intelligence to fully inform their work and help them identify when opportunities for acquisition may be forming. Their efforts should be supported by detailed intelligence specific to a physician’s volume, their track record of referrals, and the developments happening with the local competition.
Leveraging Data for Stronger Physician Relationships
With so many different forms of physician employment - from fully employed physicians to independent PCPs to credentialed physicians, it’s important to be able to track the varying referral patterns in the unique and specific ways that make the most sense for each provider. With Stratasan’s All-Payer Claims Data (APCD), Blackbird, and Physician Patterns tools, liaisons can track the right data and see critical trends; these insights can help to improve their outreach approach.
Equipped with Blackbird and APCD, physician liaisons are able to see referral relationships, identify where there’s high referral volume, and know where relationship improvement is needed. With a broader look by ZIP code, planners can see where some relationships are not working - clearly identifying which physicians are not sending referrals to their hospital(s). While these insights can certainly be drawn in a more manual way, one additional advantage to Stratasan’s tools is that they equip liaisons to see the referrals of their physician partners and the referrals of their competitors.
With all this referral data in hand, business development directors and planners will be able to better observe the dynamics of the physician relationships in their market. Closer ties to this intelligence will only strengthen their ability to track when changes are happening and when opportunities for acquisition may be developing. To learn more about these tools and how they can support the work of your team, schedule a demo with one of Stratasan’s experts today.
Article by George Sackllah, Product Analyst for Stratasan