Build a Successful Medical Group by Establishing an Effective Organizational Structure
- February 19, 2019
The first step in the process of building a home is a strong foundation, and minor flaws in the structure can lead to significant issues throughout the home’s life. Organizational structure is similarly crucial to the long-term viability of a practice, medical group, or health system. However, we frequently find that organizations have “landed” in their current structure rather than acting proactively to establish what will best support their needs and objectives. Consider the questions below to help identify strengths and opportunities related to your organizational structure.
- How did we get here, and who are the key stakeholders that will support or hinder progress?
With the continued growth of employed providers nationally, many medical groups have acquired practices at frantic paces. Some groups have grown with strategic intention, while others have been motivated to defend their markets or protect valuable provider networks. It is all too common for hospital or health system leadership to pursue provider acquisitions and eventually realize they never intended to have a group of such size or complexity. Understanding the history of a group and its leaders is critical to determining the optimal structure. Typically, there are special arrangements, political concerns, and inconsistent expectations or contracts that require special attention when undergoing a cultural transition.
- What are our gaps in leadership, and have we empowered our leaders to drive success?
With acquisitions, mergers, and integration, often practice administrators and managers come with the package. There are pros and cons to having an administrative leader who is intimately familiar with the operations of a newly acquired practice; however, even great leaders can struggle to adjust to new organizational standards (assuming standards exist). Many groups have redundant administrative roles at a certain leadership level, which causes confusion about roles and responsibilities and drives variability across practices or regions. Organizations frequently omit important layers of leadership, such as an executive level administrator or a working clinic supervisor, as a result of inherited leadership structure and personnel.
- Does our structure foster a culture of communication and retain high performers?
It is difficult to identify high performers without appropriate span of control and objective operational standards/metrics. Clarity and communication are vital regarding roles, expectations, responsibilities, and vision for the future. Organizational structure dictates communication up, down, and across leadership levels, which should build consistency and unify goals. Talent retention is closely tied to structure and perceived growth opportunities.
We recommend proactively addressing and prioritizing organizational structure issues, which rarely improve on their own over time. Although each scenario is unique, it can be helpful to start by outlining your “perfect world” structure and then adjusting to a realistic plan based on your specific people and circumstances.
We would love to hear how you have established an effective organizational structure. If you’d like to learn more about how our team can support your EPN, please contact us.
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