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3 innovations for physician leadership in ACO’s


A recent survey of Accountable Care Organizations across America shows that many physicians want to participate and play leadership roles in ACO’s but face big barriers in trying to do so.

The big challenges  for physicians  in providing effective leadership of population health programs include, says this HealthAffairs blog essay:

  1. “Physician-led population health services have not been achieving the overall outcomes and demonstrating value.
  2. “Physician services have not been coordinated with the hospitals and health plans, leading to redundancy in population health initiatives.
  3. “Front-line physicians have been perceived as being recalcitrant and uncooperative due to a fundamental lack of trust in the executive leadership regarding population health programs”

Evolent Health, a population-health-management company, offers three types of innovations in physician governance and leadership that offer the greatest opportunity to overcome these challenges:

*First, {t}he principal factor behind favorable results in health systems achieving value has been {the existence of} an organizational structure within a healthcare delivery system we have named ‘Population Health Services Organization’ or PHSO, a type of management services organization. PHSO’s are being formed to ensure that the health delivery system has personnel who are fully dedicated to the specific processes, technology platforms, and model of care for population health to succeed.”

“The crucial consideration in this alignment is that the PHSO is physician-led, with physicians representing the majority of the participants on the governing committees of the organization.

* “A second major factor behind successful physician governance is the pod structure for primary care physician practices. The pod is at the core of governance at the front lines of providing healthcare services. A functional definition of a pod is a group of physicians {of  fewer than 15 physicians} organized into collaborative units for managing risk and improving quality of care as teams.”

* “The third major factor … is extensive physician and other clinic leadership training. This training needs to develop high-functioning care teams by introducing changes directly into practice with a rapid cycle approach. This program primes physicians and their practices for success in the coming era of value-based payment.”


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