Sharing Best Practices Within A Merged Physician Group

Situation

A large (1,000+) physician practice multi-specialty group was formed from the merger of two groups a few years earlier.

The merger was financially and operationally successful in some specialty areas but not in others.

Medical leaders wished to learn about the keys to success in the growing, profitable, and collegial specialty groups while identifying those factors hindering other groups. Leadership wanted to replicate those strategies and tactics that led to success throughout the organization to boost patient base, revenues, and morale.


Opportunity

Several of the specialty groups had failed to gain and hold market share, recruit doctors, and create a climate of mutual support. Other groups had been quite successful in all these areas.

If the “weaker” specialties could take advantage of the organizational experience and expertise of the “stronger” ones, they could strengthen the financial base of the entire organization and establish a more promising course for the future.


Approach

Working with the input of leaders from the whole practice as well as the specialist groups, the consulting team created a structured set of interview questions. These questions asked about the period since the merger, each person’s perceptions of success in their area, and their views of the critical success factors.

The consulting team interviewed all administrative leaders as well as key specialist leaders in each of the sixteen specialty areas – forty-five interviews in all.

The team documented the perceived needs of each specialty leader and the approach they had taken to strengthen practice areas since the merger. The result was a weighted list of specific communication, growth, and operational strategies. The team then conducted an anonymous email survey of all medical staff of all specialties and received 350 responses. This survey allowed everyone an opportunity to participate by evaluating their specific area and offering suggestions and potential solutions to improve post-merger activity, process, and communications.


Results

The survey results were shared as part of an organizational leadership retreat. Leaders acknowledged that the techniques and strategies of the strong specialty groups they had documented helped them be successful in the post-merger market.

To build their programs and create stronger cohesion and loyalty among their colleagues, the medical leadership encouraged specialty areas with less success to implement changes and to adopt some of the successful communication and organization strategies.

While the merger had resulted in some immediate fallout of disenchanted physicians, the emphasis in this project was to build on the successes of the strong specialty groups and share their accomplishments to make the entire organization stronger and more productive.

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