Effective collaboration between the clinical and financial leaders of healthcare organizations is increasingly necessary, according to a recently published joint report from the American Association for Physician Leadership and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
Providers, insurers, regulators and the public recognize the need for greater value in health care—that is, improved quality and lower cost of care. The new value-based care and payment models highlight the importance of collaboration between the clinical and financial leaders within healthcare organizations.
Healthcare leaders must communicate a common message about the pursuit of value, which requires a common definition and agreement on the metrics used to track progress. Distinct capabilities in four categories can help organizations move toward value-based care delivery. The four categories are:
- People and culture
- Business intelligence
- Performance improvement
- Contract and risk management
The shared goal of becoming a “high-reliability” organization can bring clinical and financial leaders together. A “high-reliability” organization delivers performance as intended consistently over time, the authors wrote. (“Designing the New Health Care System: The Need for CMO and CFO Collaboration,” a joint report from the American Association for Physician Leadership and the Healthcare Financial Management Association, 2015)
Consistent performance over time would translate into:
- No harm to patients (safety focus)
- Clinical excellence (quality focus)
- Patient satisfaction (patient-centered care)
- Positive margin (financial focus)
Organizational leaders can use the trust cycle to enable the changes required for successful adoption of new care and payment models. The trust cycle includes four key steps:
- Finding common ground
- Having needed dialogues that are healthy, meaningful and safe
- Tapping collective wisdom
- Building trust
Collaboration between the CFO and CMO
Chief medical officers and chief financial officers speak different languages, have different perspectives and focus on different goals. “It is absolutely critical for clinical and financial leaders to recognize and understand the pain points of their colleagues on the other side of the C-suite.” (“Designing the New Health Care System: The Need for CMO and CFO Collaboration,” HFMA Weekly, May 22, 2015)
Bridging the clinical and financial realms requires clinicians who understand finances and financial leaders who understand clinical priorities. Clinicians should be able to motivate their peers to work toward organizational and/or population health goals. Financial leaders must be able to identify relevant, actionable data for clinicians and communicate effectively with chief medical officers and care providers.
The authors of the report emphasized that organizations should “minimize dollars withheld from penalty programs and maximize dollars received in reimbursement and in incentive programs.” Both the clinicians and the finance leaders must clearly understand the various payment programs and should implement a process for “shifting strategies and practices in response to changes in these programs.” (“Designing the New Health Care System: The Need for CMO and CFO Collaboration,” HFMA Weekly, May 22, 2015)
To make all of this successful requires timely, accurate and actionable data so clinicians get the feedback they need. Data must be translated to useable information for leaders, clinicians and also patients.
For a copy of the full report, please contact Carlin Lockee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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