Expect more friction between hospital executives and the entrepreneurial physicians who compete against them.
But also look for some hospitals to mend their medical staff relationships and offer viable business alternatives for physicians with an itch to bolt. Whatever the scenario, the action is bound to become loud, heated and more frequent.
A recent Governance Institute study predicts hospitals will face a major upswing over the next three years in competition from ambulatory surgery centers, specialty hospitals, imaging centers and other medical niche businesses. The study found 77% of hospital CEOs consider competition a "very or vitally important" priority.
It's the changing nature of competition that most concerns hospitals. At present, 45% of those surveyed consider members of their medical staff as significant sources of competition. In addition, 81% expect local physicians to challenge their hospitals three years from now.
The surge in marketplace turmoil will produce threats, bitter feelings and fractured friendships. Interestingly, both sides are responding to reimbursement reductions, soaring operating costs, customer service concerns and demands to improve quality.
Hoping to shed some light on the subject, Modern Physician is co-sponsoring a Physician Strategies Institute Oct. 1-3 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. We've designed a lively, topical program to help physician leaders and hospital managers better understand their options and, more importantly, each other.
The schism often starts when physicians become frustrated by the inability of their hospitals to deal adequately with chronic delays, long turnaround times and support staff shortages. Moreover, these physician renegades are confident in their business skills and ability to attract deep-pocket investors.
In most cases, physicians are looking for clinical control, operational efficiency and access to technology. They are driven to achieve superior outcomes from satisfied patients. And they expect financial rewards for providing quality.
Hospitals have broader responsibilities. At times, the two sides are able to collaborate within the traditional medical staff framework. In other cases, disappointed and disillusioned physicians break away from the mother ship.
Hospitals realize losing patients to physician-owned businesses means declining revenues and lower profits. The impact can fray the traditional safety net for needy patients and reduced hospital support for community health programs.
The Physician Strategies Summit won't change the environment, but it will offer insight on how others have dealt with collaboration, competition, compensation, equity models and other essential areas of interest. For more information, call (866) 440-9080.