Executive Health Administration

Medical Group Careers: Keys to Success

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 31, 2017 8:02:00 AM / by Frank Farrar



Days of visiting the family doctor or going to the hospital for surgery are not over, but more and more physicians are banding together in formal arrangements to provide medical services to patients with a laser-focused attention on improving outcomes, delivering better care, and lowering costs.

For doctors and nurses considering, forming, or joining a group medical practice – and for those who are already part of one – learn the key factors that make the difference between success and failure.

Medical Group Practice vs. Independent Practice Association

Medical group practices, where physicians have legally formed an entity, manage a practice together and share the responsibility of caring for patients. Group practices may also contract as a unit with third-party payers.

Whereas an Independent Practice Association (IPA), there is no legal business operation formed, but the independently practicing physicians have come together primarily for contracting purposes with third-party payers.

Leadership Skills for Medical Groups

Physicians and professionals seeking an executive healthcare career at a medical group will need to take on a brand new set of responsibilities such as management, accounting and billing, information technology, human resources, and risk management which were previously handled by hospital administrators.

According to the Advisory Boardorganizational culture, especially within medical groups, from Managing Director Jessica Sweeney-Platt, states the No. 1 priority is “a clear, robust, cohesive vision for what the group intends to achieve.”

In turn, Sweeney-Platt adds that vision must be tied to properly aligned leadership, organizational structure, human resources, and talent management to reinforce that vision.

Similarly, Medical Groups must display infrastructure investments that help support and reinforce priorites and values. 

On a more concrete level, the Medical Group Management Association, Attributes of Successful Medical Practices, lists characteristics and actions recommended for medical groups to succeed. The major factors include:

  • Effective collaboration between clinicians and executives
  • Making business decisions that leverage data and benchmarks and observations of industry trends
  • Understanding the regulatory and compliance environment and how it impacts physicians and their practice
  • Investing with an aim to generate long-term success and sustainability through improved quality of care, patient experiences and positive outcomes

Tips for Starting a Medical Group Practice

Starting a Medical Group is no easy task. However, with the right foundation, vision, and leadership skills, a successful venture is well within reach.

Success Factors

The success factors for a Medical Groups are analagous to that of a traditional hospital or health network. Examples include:

  • Learning how to capture and measure meaningful patient and business data
  • Using patient and business data to make informed business decisions
  • Successfully navigating the myriad regulatory guidelines, legislative developments, and the changing payment/reimbursement models of the industry
  • Hiring, training, and retaining top clinician and administrative talent
  • Lowering the cost of care, improving patient outcomes and delivering better patient experiences
  • Communicating and executing a strategic vision at the organizational level

Medical Groups, by building a strong understanding of these factors, both in theory and in a practical, on-the-job level will be able to achieve long-term success.

Executive MHA for Medical Professionals

We get this question a lot: "I am a career physician. How can I develop the skills to lead a Medical Group?"

Here's the deal, if you're a physician or hospitalist looking to work with or lead a medical group, chances are you're highly skilled in a few key areas.

And sure, hiring the right people and building a well-rounded team to fulfill the needs of your organization helps. However, to achieve long-term success, specialized training in leadership, management, and hospital administration, is key to thrive in a rapidly changing healthcare industry.

For clinicians and administrators an advanced healthcare degree is often the best option for developing a comprehensive set of leadership and management skills.

If you're in the planning phase or if you've recently launched a Group Practice you understand time is limited. In most cases an online MHA degree offers medical professionals the most flexibility and fairest cost without compromising on quality.

The Executive MHA online degree program at USC's Price School of Public Policy provides medical professionals the education, mentorship, and resources needed to run an Independent Practice Association, medical group practice or private practice. 

With a curriculum that includes classes such as...

  • “Leading People and Healthcare Organizations,”
  • “Information Technology Management Systems in Healthcare,” and
  • “Managing Risk in Contracting to Meet Performance Objectives”.

...the Executive MHA coursework teaches medical professionals how to think, act, and run a group practice like an experienced healthcare executive.

To learn more about USC's Executive Master in Health Administration degree, watch our introductory series of videos. When you're ready to advance your career take the first step and prequalify your application for admittance.

Qualify for USC's Executive MHA Online Degree Program

Topics: Healthcare Careers, Skills, Medical Group

Frank Farrar

Written by Frank Farrar

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