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(e)Merge - Helping medical practices grow


(e)Merging Practice Growth Trends:

   May Update



The ACO and the Patient Experience

The ACO is a hot trend right now as more and more practices look to take on this government-promoted model. Recently, the Beryl Institute posted a blog about the rise and motivation behind ACOs for healthcare professionals. Those interested in Medicare reimbursement are now talking about the benefits the ACO can have in regards to care coordination for Medicare patients.

Because the ACO model is so closely tied to reimbursement, it is also closely tied to patient experience. But there are many other reasons why the patient experience continues to be an important focus when converting to an ACO. Here at (e)Merge, we have started talking a lot about how the ACO and patient experience intersect. In fact, our Partner, Jamie Verkamp has started speaking on the topic at conferences because there is so much interest.

Just last month, a large ACO formed out in San Francisco, led by Hill Physicians Medical group. It is one of just a few in the U.S. that includes an academic center. Besides having numerous cost benefits, the CEO of Hill tells us that this initiative (which is modeled after a similar program in Sacramento) improves the patient experience by making it smoother. "We've shown that independent physicians and community hospitals can coordinate high-quality care around an individual's health, creating a smoother experience for the member before, during and after a hospital stay."

Critics say such a strong emphasis on cost containment, reduction and reimbursement takes away from the focus on the patient. But those like Hill say it is just that- the focus on the patient and the continuity of care- that reaps such rewards.

"We want to hear both sides of the issue and really get to a place where the model works extremely well for both patients and providers," says Verkamp. "With so many practices looking to convert, there must be an ongoing dialogue about keeping the patient (the life blood of any practice) central. When we speak on this topic, I see the wheels start to turn in a lot of people's minds. They really start to understand how important the patient experience is and how critical it is to making the ACO work."


  April Highlights:

It's been an exciting month here at (e) Merge!  Our Managing Partner, Jamie Verkamp spent April speaking at over 10 events across the country.  She really enjoys working with MGMA, and had the opportunity to work with many of their state chapters this month.  She reports numerous lively discussions about the direction that healthcare is headed and the impact of patient experience initiatives. 

Now more than ever, patient experience is a huge focus.  Patient experience has been listed as one of the top 3 priorities amongst hospital organizations.  Forty-two percent of hospital organizations now have patient experience committees to focus on the improvement of patient experiences. Entire summits and conferences now focus solely on patient experience issues. As the movement continues to blossom, we see more and more organizations and health systems devoting time and resources toward enriching this aspect of healthcare.



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When your Credit Card Company Cares More than your Doctor's Office

Last week I had to contact Discover Card- something I dreaded doing more than lugging in groceries. But I was pleasantly taken aback when the woman I was connected with far exceeded my expectations and surprisingly, improved my day. She solved my problem and I even felt I had a rapport with her by the end of the call. She was nice, caring, and actually listened to me. When she asked if I would use my Discover for my next purchase, I assured her I would.

The next day I had a very different phone call with another business. My husband fell ill and I immediately called a local healthcare provider. "My husband is very sick and I'd like to see how soon I can get him in," I told the receptionist. I was describing what he was going through when I was rudely interrupted- "Date of birth?" she asked robotically....

Read the rest of the story in our blog!



Put it into Practice!  

 Spend 5 minutes in your office waiting room and ask yourself these questions:

  • What are some things that you would you change to improve your 5 minutes in the waiting room?
  • Is your waiting room lacking reading or marketing materials?
  • Is it tidy and clean?
  • What are the rest of the people in your waiting room doing?
  • Are there irritable children that would be less irritable if they had a play area, puzzle, or another activity to keep them occupied?

Don't limit yourself to these questions.  Put yourself in your patients' shoes and attempt to truly experience what your patients experience.


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How does your Practice Measure Up?

With our exhaustive 130 point mystery shopping review, you'll know the answer. Give us a call or email Jamie today to discuss how our mystery shopping services can ensure practice growth in 2011!


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Where's (e)Merge?

May 12th - May 13th


Oak Brook, IL

May 15th - May 17th


Osage Beach, MO

May 22nd - May 24th

2nd Annual Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience: Empathy and Innovation Summit - Cleveland, OH

June 1st - June 3rd

PMI National Conference

New Orleans, LA

Aug. 1st

Retail Clinician's Congress

Orlando, FL


What's (e)Merge?

(e)Merge is a medical practice growth consulting firm specializing in providing innovative, patient-centric marketing initiatives and medical mystery shopping services that enhance patient experiences to increase referrals.  Our programs are designed to strategically achieve sustained patient volume growth for medical practices and health organizations.


Give us a call!





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