Imagine a company with a limited number of major accounts that generate a majority of its revenues. The CEO is principally responsible for managing the relationship with those accounts, and he is the first one they call when operational issues arise. Does this sound like an effective way to do business? Yet it happens to be the way many healthcare delivery systems still manage their relations with key physician groups.

The consolidation of the healthcare sector into a limited number of integrated healthcare delivery systems has made significant economies of scale possible across a range of operational areas. One remaining frontier, however, is the development of consistent and effective models for managing physician relations, particularly key admitters. Approaches vary considerably across the country and even across systems, and so does their effectiveness. In many cases, such critical relationships are managed reactively and mostly from the top, creating the opportunity for unpleasant surprises, and at a minimum, distracting CEOs from the more strategic issues that they should be addressing.


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