3 ways to equip physicians to lead ACOs

While there are many advocates for physician-led care, this type of leadership presents its own challenges, especially for accountable care organizations, the majority of which are led by physicians.

Some of these challenges include missing the mark on population health outcomes, redundant population health initiatives due to poor hospital-physician communication and a general lack of trust among physicians toward executives, according to a recent Health Affairs Blog.

The following three strategies from population health management consultants Evolent Health and presented by Health Affairs could help mitigate the issues presented by physician leadership.

1. Develop a population health services organization. This structure designates specific staff to be dedicated to population health programs and technology programs. Evolent recommends the PHSO be physician-led and mission-driven so that it is not simply an empty entity or realignment of leadership structure.

2. Put primary care practices in pods. The pod is comprised of groups of 15 physicians or less and 5,000 or more patients, which are put into units that work as a team to manage risk and improve the quality of care. Pods are based on geographic proximity and ownership (employed vs. non-employed) and specialty. These groups are also best led by a physician, according to the report.

3. Provide training opportunities to develop leadership. Individual physicians will benefit from training in leadership, practice transformation strategies, population health and practicum work, according to the report. These skills will help physicians position their practices to work efficiently in care teams under value-based reimbursement structures.


More articles on accountable care:

First year of Pioneer Program shows reduction in Medicare spending
Rural hospitals: Deadline to sign up for ACO with federal funding is May 1
How both the private and public sector are accelerating the move to accountability

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