Your first reaction to this article’s title might be, “I didn’t know physicians had a role in saving money since too often my healthcare organization’s financial goals are at cross purposes with theirs.” If that is your take on this symbiotic relationship, then you would be mistaken, since in today’s new healthcare economy physicians are in the same life boat as you are, if they want to stay afloat in these turbulent times.
First of all, most physicians have a kinship with your healthcare organization and want to see it survive. After all, without hospitals physicians have nowhere to send their patients for treatments, perform procedures, or to seek expert advice from specialists. You might call this physician/hospital relationship a mutual aid society or an affiliation that strengthens with age. Whatever you call it, now is the time to tap into this relationship to unlock your savings opportunities.
As I see it, the physician’s role in saving money is to be a customer, expert, and adviser in any and all clinical cost reduction initiatives that you are contemplating. They can help you rally the troops, create a culture of compliance to best practices, and focus your team on what is important to them.
I’m not talking theory here since I have worked with physicians my entire healthcare career and have observed what works and what doesn’t with them. In fact, I have often been surprised at how engaged physicians can become in saving money. I can remember one time when I was blown away at the graphs and charts that a surgeon developed for a value analysis team meeting I was facilitating. What amazed me was that this busy surgeon took the time to plot the usage on his peers’ surgical gloves. I couldn’t believe his enthusiasm on the changes he thought he could get adopted to reduce the cost of this commodity group. This wasn’t an isolated instance; I have witnessed this many times in my career.
What you need to remember is that physicians are successful entrepreneurs who understand how to save money. They do it every day in their own practices! Now it is our job to tap into the businessperson’s side of their thinking to assist us in unlocking savings opportunities for your healthcare organization. You will be surprised to discover how physicians can use their everyday demeanor and leadership skills to set the tone for maximizing your supply chain savings.