(e)Merging Practice Growth Trends:
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."
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
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.
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
Is it tidy and clean?
What are the rest of the people in your waiting
Are there irritable children that would be less
irritable if they had a play area, puzzle, or another activity to keep them
Don't limit yourself to these questions. Put yourself in your patients' shoes and
attempt to truly experience what your patients experience.
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!