Recently I had been discussing an acquisition of a healthcare system with one of my colleagues. During the discussion it came to light that a challenge for the organization was in understanding the culture and dynamics of the acquired hospitals, clinics, and associated staff.
As the discussion proceeded we agreed that in order for any programs, initiatives, or strategy to be successful that the organization would need to quickly drive physician alignment.
I have witnessed plenty of situations in which the best made business plans and strategies for healthcare organizations have failed due to the lack of physician leadership, alignment, and attitudes.
I believe that in order for an acquisition of hospitals and associated clinics in healthcare to be successful, it is not just about the assets and balance sheet, but more about the people and processes. The biggest hurdle for success is the physicians. If they are not on board, any hope for success will be met with failure.
So how does one go about solving this problem?
In my opinion I believe it is simple. The time needs to be spent going through the entire organization and meeting with as close to as many as “all” the physicians as possible. This may seem like a tall task and major undertaking, but if an organization is spending multimillion to billions of dollars on an acquisition or merger, then this type of due diligence needs to be taken.
This “physician stakeholder assessment” can be simplified. I have had the fortune to do several of these over the years. In one instance I met with 200 physicians, both employed and “partnered,” over the course of 3 days.
At the end of the 3 days I had a good cross section of information to see which physicians were champions, which were neutral, and which were detractors. More importantly I also knew which physicians could be quickly turned into champions, which ones would always stay neutral, and the few physicians that would most likely remain detractors.
With the information I helped the multiple healthcare system create a plan to keep the physician champions, help to develop physicians that were currently neutral into supporters and some neutral physicians into champions. The crucial part was identifying the plan to turn the detractor physicians into neutral.
As for the small group of physicians that could never be moved out of the detractor category, my comment was for the organization to cut their losses as quickly as possible.
In order for their to be success, an inventory of the culture of physicians and employees needs to be understood. It cannot happen at an offsite corporate office, it doesn’t happen in a large staff meeting, and a survey only gives you the feedback you are looking to gain.
The ideal way to accomplish this task is to spend the time with the physicians, ask the right questions, and be honest with the insight and their feedback. Once you understand the culture, work with the supporters and champions to continue to drive things forward. Most importantly, know what you and the organization can commit to performing, and make the tough decision to part with the physicians you know you will never gain their trust and support.
Physicians + People + Process + Insight = Success
As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM