When Employment is Not an Option

Despite a flood of cardiologists entering into employment arrangements with hospitals and health systems, not all are following suit. We continue to work with a number of cardiology groups that are not interested in or eligible for employment. Why? The reasons are as disparate as the physician practices. Some cardiologists cannot become employed due to state regulations or because they are part of a multispecialty group. Others simply treasure their independence. Regardless, shrinking reimbursement and crushing cost pressures are pushing more cardiologists in private practice to explore their available options. And when employment is not an option, there are alternative arrangements that offer similar benefits while preserving physician independence. Continue reading

Cerner’s Siemens Acquisition: What Does It Mean?


On August 5, Cerner Corporation announced the acquisition of Siemens AG’s Healthcare Information Technology business unit for $1.3 billion.  This will result in an organization with 20,000 employees spanning more than 30 countries and 18,000 client facilities, with an R&D budget of $650 million and combined annual revenues of $4.5 billion.  The two companies also formed a strategic global alliance focused on increasing the integration capabilities between Cerner’s EHR and Siemens’ medical devices.  Continue reading

Cardiologist Compensation 201: Thinking Beyond the WRVU

Let’s talk money. A confluence of factors, including physician integration efforts, a focus on population-based health, and value-based payments, is leading both hospitals and private practice groups to reexamine compensation. Conversations centered on compensation are among the most difficult for hospitals and physicians to engage in, and there is no silver bullet for how to best structure payment. We do know, however, that compensation plans should reflect the culture of the practice, encourage clinical performance, and emphasize quality/care coordination. Continue reading

From Cardiologist to CV Service Line VP

Despite making unprecedented investments in cardiologist integration, hospitals are struggling to effectively leverage the knowledge and expertise of their physicians in growing and managing the CV service line. The lack of a defined growth strategy leaves many cardiologists uncomfortably waffling between the role of clinician and that of administrator, unsure what influence they can or should wield. Private practice physicians are in an even more uncomfortable position, as they also want a voice in service line development discussions but are uncertain of their role. So, what’s the answer? Continue reading

Patient Contact Centers: Much More Than Glorified Switchboards

Businesses that restrict customer or client access to services should not expect to be in business for long.  Yet in healthcare, provider organizations have a long history of building barriers to patients obtaining care.  There are a litany of ways organizations hinder access:  answering telephone calls only during limited, inconvenient hours; failing to fully develop Web-based access points; restricting physician schedules based on what works best for the organization (not its patients); having too many points of contact for seemingly basic tasks, like reaching a nurse; and the list goes on.  In the new healthcare environment, health systems and provider groups need to find ways to break down barriers to care – and patient contact centers represent one strategy for doing just that. Continue reading