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Webinar Discusses Best Practices to Strengthen Hospital-Physician Alignment in the Cardiovascular Service Line

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During the March 29 Becker's Hospital Review webinar, titled "Impact of Physician-Hospital Alignment on CV Service Line and Practice Performance," P. Anthony Long, senior vice president of Paragon Health; James M. Palazzo, president of Paragon Health; and Suzette Jaskie, executive director of Frederick Meijer Heart and Vascular Institute and CEO of West Michigan Heart, presented best practices, tips and case studies relating to the alignment of hospitals and cardiovascular service lines.

Here are some key points highlighted during the webinar.

Recognize the increased opportunities for cardiovascular service lines with improved alignment. An aligned service line offers hospitals an array of benefits, such as unified leadership and governance, unified vision-strategy, aligned incentives, a single financial system and increased opportunities for a hospital to improve its performance. These opportunities include evidence-based medicine, operational efficiencies and patient satisfaction.

Establish a dashboard. It's crucial that hospital administrators and service line administrators understand what is important to each party. Dashboards allow both structuring a communication plan and learning about each party's financial data and performance. For instance, a service line's financial spreadsheet might involve different criteria than that of a hospital.

Evaluate the reasoning behind the alignment. Good reasons to align with a cardiovascular service line include improving quality of care, reducing costs, improving efficiency, providing additional services to the community and preparing for healthcare reform. Bad reasons, on the other hand, include creating a new referral stream, keeping physicians happy, preventing physicians from referring elsewhere or copying your competitors' strategy to align.

Develop a physician-service line administrator dyad. A dyad refers to a physician leader paired with an administrative leader. The arrangement, which can also be called physician-led or professionally managed, takes the disciplines of physician and administrator to improve the quality of decisions made in every level of the organization. In a completely integrated enterprise, for instance, there would be a physician-administrator dyad for each department or function, implementing a unified strategic plan.

Become familiar with both the internal and external environment affecting alignment strategies. Along with cultural insights and group dynamics, service line and hospital leaders will want to examine environmental factors influencing their relationship. Internal environment factors include key specialty issues, physician-administration rapport, information systems, operational efficiencies and locations. External environmental factors include government involvement and healthcare reform, relationship with community physicians, system employment of referring physicians, community and patient environment, payor mix and market factors.

Download the Webinar presentation by clicking here (pdf).

View the Webinar by clicking here (wmv). We suggest you download the video to your computer before viewing to ensure better quality. If you have problems viewing the video, which is in Windows Media Video format, you can use a program like VLC media player, free for download here.

Learn more about Paragon Health.

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