Physician Practice

5 Vital Business Signs for Medical Groups

Physician Practice Insider, September 18, 2017

Practice leaders explain how key metrics help groups meet their missions.

"We always thought we were doing a great job," says Meryl Moss, MPA, EMHL, chief operating officer of Coastal Medical, a primary care group practice in Rhode Island, with 19 locations throughout the state. 

But when the group began measuring performance more deliberately to participate in meaningful use, the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s certification, and similar programs, practice leaders recognized that their perception didn’t align with reality.

For example, Moss and colleagues learned that elderly patients weren’t receiving flu shots as consistently across all clinics as they could be, and that numerous patients were using the ED unnecessarily.

As a result of standardizing and systematizing its operations, Coastal Medical can now empirically say that it received a Medicare Shared Savings Program quality score of 100% in 2015.

Prioritizing Performance Areas

"The idea of working toward quality for our patients fit in with Coastal’s culture," Moss says.

"Physicians here didn’t want to just jump through hoops to chase an incentive. They absolutely wanted anything we did to be connected to higher-quality care and better patient outcomes."

As a result, the group resolved to continue to tracking its performance in the following key areas, in order of importance:

1. Quality

2. Patient satisfaction

3. Utilization

4. Cost

Meanwhile, the growing prevalence of value-based reimbursement is driving medical groups’ emphasis on quality, says Scott Hayworth, MD, FACOG, president and CEO of CareMount Medical, PC, an independent multispecialty medical group in New York State, with 43 locations, including seven urgent care centers.

"We’re focused on quality and cost. And if we can provide patients with quality healthcare in a cost-effective way, that’s the key. That’s where many organizations are being driven, and that’s where we have been focused and will continue over the next five to 10 years," he says.

A Fifth Vital Sign

A healthy workforce is of prime importance for CareMount as well, says Hayworth, noting the symbiotic nature of many of the key areas medical groups track.

"We’re centered around our 550,000 patients; they are the primary responsibility of the organization," he says.

"On top of that, CareMount is focused on our employees and our physicians. In addition to patient satisfaction and quality, we are very interested in staff and physician morale—because if you don’t have engaged staff members, you’re not going to provide excellent care."

Debra Beaulieu is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media. This article was published originally in HealthLeaders Media.

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