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What Makes a Medical Group More Than a Collection of Individual Practices?

Co-authored with Fred N. Davis, MD

Sometimes a group is created when a solo practitioner grows beyond what they can accomplish independently. Here, organic growth is necessary to care for the patient caseload. Other times a group is formed by a collection of practitioners who decide to collaborate and work together. During the process of building a working healthcare organization, the majority of the focus goes to the legal formation of the business, basic operations, office space, primarily location and aesthetic. These are all crucial elements to launching a successful business. However, they are not the only, or even the primary, factors that will create success.

Often overlooked in the “building the business” process are the foundational elements that tie the practitioners together. Factors such as friendship; shared training and working experiences; the desire to join forces to provide more comprehensive patient care and be more economically efficient are essential considerations. However, these alone are not sufficient to form a successful and scalable group.

Get Clear on a Common Cultural Foundation

One of the essential elements to examine is the often subtle, underlying forces that bring the practitioners together to develop and articulate a common cultural foundation. Understanding and articulating these forces create the founding story for the practice.

The founding story is the foundation for the development of the organization’s mission – the statement of purpose regarding “why” this organization exists. Understanding and embracing the mission is the bedrock of any successful organization. From the mission, successful organizations develop core values that inform individuals within and outside of the company; these values guide behaviors. When organizations genuinely live their values, it helps leadership in the decision-making process. Often-times in business, and in life, the hard choice is the right choice; committing to unwaveringly embodying one’s organization’s values can help to guide those challenging decisions.

An organization should also have a vision for the future, often looked at as a vast and possibly unattainable goal, such as “ridding the world of all illness.” The vision serves to motivate and guide all involved to strive toward the best possible outcome. These three elements form the foundation of the culture, and a solid foundational culture will set a pathway for developing clinical and business strategies that will lead the organization to success.

Let the Group’s Vision Inform Elements of the Practice

These are the specific therapeutic tools that the practice will provide. They reflect the group’s clinical vision and the needs of the community. A group must have a process for evaluating treatments and procedures offered or considered from both a clinical and business perspective. Having a method in place to assess and respond to the data acquired helps reduce the potential for investing in costly, inappropriate, and/or unnecessary services.

Develop (and Measure) Standards Based on Mission, Values and Consensus

Clinical and practice leaders have a primary fiduciary responsibility to the group. To honor this responsibility, leaders must develop standards based on mission, values and consensus:

  • Measurement using meaningful dimensions that inform goal-directed decision-making.
  • Transparency with everyone aware of each other’s performance utilizing the power of peers.
  • Accountability where people and the organization are held responsible for their performance.

In other words, be who you say you are. It’s essential to have a system for adaptation by:

  • Creating a culture of continuous learning
  • Being informed by data regarding what practice does
  • Using that information to drive change

Don’t Know Where to Start? We’re Here to Help

We use a systematic approach to building, assessing, and improving a practice that includes a cultural assessment regarding the strength and cohesion of the foundation that is bringing the members together. Successful organizations create an environment where people want to work together for the benefit of the enterprise.

Is your organization ready to improve and change? If you answered YES, we are here to help you reach your goals and practice potential. At Healthwise Management, one of our six organizational values is SUCCESS – we believe that there is peace of mind that comes from the achievement of one’s goals.

Ultimately, your success is our success! Contact us today.

Michelle L. Davis

Author Michelle L. Davis

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