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Kyruus Blog

What’s Your Gorilla?

This is a post by Dr. Tim Crowley, Vice President of Physician Network Services at Kyruus. 

How important is perception? Prioritization? Taking a step back? Incredibly.

I recently attended a conference where the moderator presented a famous video of a group of people passing basketballs to each other. The group was asked to count the number of times the basketballs were passed back and forth. In the middle of the exercise, a person in a gorilla suit walks through the room in the video. Afterwards, when the group was asked about the number of passes, one person raised their hand and asked, “What about the gorilla?”

Over two thirds of the group asked, “What gorilla?” Some insisted there was no gorilla at all, and even accused the moderator of showing two videos!

The point, of course, is that if you are too focused on one thing, you could be missing the real threat to your organization. That’s your gorilla.

Personally, I have seen at least three classic examples of this in Healthcare over the last five years:

1. Large Academic Medical Center in the Northeast proudly announces opening of $400 million, state of the art Cardiovascular tower. Meanwhile, 1,000-provider physician group responsible for 17% of their discharges announces change of affiliation to competitor across the street.

2. Large National For Profit Hospital Management Company gathers its senior management to review 700 hours of physician interviews about “how they are regarded by their employed physicians.” Consulting firm opens the conference with the following statement to the eager crowd: “Let me give you the Executive Summary. Your physicians hate you and they think you suck.” If I hadn’t been in the room to hear it myself, I’m not sure I would have believed it.

3. Faith Based System in the Northeast turns around $50 million operating loss into $30 million operating gain in one year. Market crashes and old Defined Benefit Retirement Plan’s unfunded liability triples. Game over. Private Equity Firm buys system.

So, while you, the hospital administrator, are totally consumed by the installation of your new EMR, or your brilliant new E.D or your aggressive new quality improvement and cost containment projects, you might want to look around and see if there any gorillas are in the room.

Here are two “gorillas” that can pose an existential threat to your organization:

1. Lack of a dynamic, effective ONGOING Physician Network Development program. Our proprietary physician tracking data shows that over 1% of physicians move EVERY MONTH. 12-15% change location, leave their practice or move to a different system every year. In addition, a whole generation of Primary Care Physicians is approaching retirement in the next 5-10 years. Without the information to identify those likely to leave and a comprehensive succession plan to help recruit new physicians to care for those patients, you could lose significant market share. If you are not actively engaged with your physicians to build your physician network, you are probably already losing more than you are gaining.

2. Patient outmigration, or "leakage". There is nothing more exasperating to the senior management teams at healthcare organizations than to see huge numbers of referrals go out to other organizations by their own physicians. What’s the point of creating and supporting a physician network if they aren’t willing to support your organizations and keep the care of their patients at the hospitals where they practice? Understanding why they are referring out is critical to fixing the problem.

Kyruus Physician Network Services can help your organization with both of these challenges. We have the tools and services to help you build, train and operate an effective Physician Network Development program and a Referral Management System that will help you promote patient retention.

Topics: Analytics Provider Networks