Clear communication crucial to successful integration

Physician-hospital integration can be a complex process, but it can be successful if certain elements are present, Matthew Phillips, MD, of Austin Heart in Austin, Texas, said in a recent American College of Cardiology webinar.

He later spoke with Cardiovascular Business and highlighted the following components as crucial:

  • Clearly communicate the expectations of each side. Determine the visions and goals of both the physicians and hospitals. Communicating about how to improve patient-focused quality and control costs is especially critical.
  • Establish governance in advance to determine how decisions are made and who makes them. If governance isn’t clear, there will be mistrust between the physicians and hospitals.
  • Define clinical, operational and organizational scope.
  • Equality means holding both doctors and hospitals accountable for their responsibilities to each other.

While these elements are key to a successful integration, financial motives should not be atop the list of priorities. “If financial and market gains remain the compelling reason to integrate, you will fail,” Phillips said during the webinar.