Physician Integration Failures Are Avoidable

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , July 12, 2013

The problem is effectively conveying that message to a powerful group of people who think they were promised something else.

If not autonomy, engagement and participatory governance is now their expectation, he says.

"The physician is looking for ways to align. That means allowing for changes to take place and means leading through influence instead of dictating. We try very hard to open a dialogue where everyone can share and provide input on what needs to be changed with the hospital-physician relationship," says Corso.

Rather than integrating one culture to another, those who are aggressively acquiring physician practices face integrating several, sometimes dozens of practices, into a cohesive unit based on the of the health system—not the individual hospitals or practices that make it up, and which may have come into the fold at different times and under different conditions.

This is most true for systems with several hospitals, but can also be a problem for standalone hospitals that are integrating cultures through many practice acquisitions, including those of different specialties.

Corso says organizations should begin to think of physicians as a whole enterprise—an entity unto itself. It's greatly impacted by the physicians they choose to participate in it, he says, adding that the physician enterprise is a political entity as well.

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