MDNews - Minnesota

Special Edition 2013

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satisfaction when we collaborated on patient transitions. We no longer discharge patients, but rather 'readmit' them into outpatient care. We also added new physicians from our affiliated groups to our board of trustees and listened to their advice. Many of our independent groups are high-performing success stories, and we found we all benefited when they shared their successes with us without competitive concerns. They saw that they benefit from our successes as well. Q What is your vision for North memorial for the next five years, and what role will your physicians play? A: We see the future as an exciting opportunity to create something new and fresh in health care. North Memorial is uniquely positioned with our independent physician groups to generate a successful patient experience together. We will need to create better patient access in our communities and manage the patients more collaboratively with our physician partners than previously. There are many health systems that believe you can do this only when you own or employ the vast majority of the provider work force; they also believe it's easier to make effective change when you all receive the same paycheck. We believe there are many ways to create alignment. While we definitely benefit from having a strong employed provider group, we also get exceptional value from the input our successful independent physician practices bring to the table. Q What steps has North memorial taken to involve its physicians in leading the organization? A: At North Memorial, we formed a Clinical Operations Leadership Team, which meets every week. It includes physician leadership from across our health system and pairs them with senior leadership to form a decision-making team that guides our strategic direction and operational decisions. It's a true commitment, on both our parts, to move the organization forward together. We also have several physicians on our senior leadership team who participate in the day-to-day operational decision-making. They are integral to our success and bring a new perspective to our discussions. They all stay clinically active in some form, as we think they represent our providers better when they are viewed as one of them. We also participate in North Collaborative Care, which was created by our physicians to help us move toward improving population health together. This group comprises many of our independent clinics, as well as key physician leaders from our employed group. We see this as a contracting vehicle for the system and network. North Memorial Health Care participates in the network but does not own it. Other systems in town view the networks as 'theirs,' but our physician leaders view it as 'ours.' That is a big difference. We are proud that this network is part of the lowest-cost, highest-value health plans on the MNsure exchange. Finally, we created a leadership development program to help medical directors understand the financial side of the business, as well as the clinical outcomes we need to generate in order for their work to be a success. Q How does an independent system such as North memorial compare with larger systems for providers? A: We think the independent groups that work with us at North Memorial understand how different it is here compared with other health systems. We value their opinions, actively seek them out and involve them in the discussions from the beginning. Many pundits predict physicians will become like factory line workers as a result of the Affordable Care Act reform bill. We think this is ridiculous and that any system's future — without broad physician leadership and buy-in — will fail. At North Memorial, our physicians and providers know that whether they work for us or with us, we want them to be successful because that is best for the patient. We want them to have the possibility to enhance the art of medicine and to bring their best efforts for their patients every day they work. In turn, we want our physicians to expect the best out of us as well. We want them to know that when AT A glANCE + how do you prefer to spend your time away from the office? With family, including our four grandchildren, and on the golf course + what is your greatest piece of advice? if you're doing what you did last year, you'll get what you got last year. + what is your personal motto? don't point your troops into the sun. + if you could pick another profession, what would it be? i would be an automotive engineer. their patients are in one of our hospitals or ambulatory centers, they will get the best care available. We want physicians to understand we are a team of people who feel responsible for each other's successes and failures. No matter how hard some try to make medical delivery a corporate experience, providers and leadership at North Memorial will continue to collaborate to provide care in a way that patients want and expect. Q What is the biggest lesson you have learned during your career? A: All work is a process, requiring teamwork across multiple functions within a company to produce a product a customer is willing to pay for. The goals for all work processes are to produce passion for continuous improvement in both efficiency and quality. Many feel that driving for greater efficiencies occurs at the expense of quality, but there are many examples of great companies that successfully achieve both goals. The biggest lesson I have learned in running a healthcare system is that healthcare systems are very complex operating companies, largely managed by caregivers. Many leaders do not have the necessary operating experience or training to successfully manage to the goals I articulated above. We have had to make some changes in our senior leadership to bring more experienced operators and are now seeing greater success in financial and quality scores. ■ MdNewS.CoM ■ MD News Twin Cities | 35

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