5 Benefits and Challenges of Co-Management Agreements for Orthopedic Surgeons

Written by Laura Dyrda | October 21, 2010 | Print  | Email
One of the many options for orthopedic surgeons partnering with hospitals is co-management. Co-management agreements allow physician CEOs to govern a hospital's orthopedic service line while the hospital supports the surgeons and their practices. "Co-management agreements transform the relationship between hospitals and practice physicians," says Dierdre Baggot, vice president of The Camden Group. "It's much more of a collaborative relationship than an 'us-them' scenario." Ms. Baggot discusses three benefits and two challenges for orthopedic physicians when entering into co-management agreements with hospitals.

Benefits

1. Influence over operations. Co-management offers orthopedic surgeons influence over the hospital's orthopedic service line. Areas of governance include clinical quality of care, supply chain management, care coordination, operational efficiency and patient satisfaction. Control over the service line offers physicians "the ability to influence their work environment in a more meaningful way," says Ms. Baggot.

2. Efficient coordinated care. Physicians in co-management agreements are able to easily communicate with the other members of the patient's care team, including nurses and physical therapists. With everyone on the same page regarding the patient's care plan, the patient will be more satisfied with their experience at the hospital. "The by-product of better coordinated care for patients is they get a truly unique experience," says Ms. Baggot.

3. Expand practice profile.
Physicians are leading an important service for their community when they govern a hospital's orthopedic service line. They can connect their orthopedic practice with their responsibilities at the hospital to expand their patient base and practice reputation within their community.

Challenges


1. Time management. Running an orthopedic practice and a hospital service line are both responsibilities that take a large amount of time and energy. Physicians doing both must have the support of the hospital CEOs to complete both tasks. "Hospitals will have to support protected time for surgeons to do the work of co-management," says Ms. Baggot.  

2. Leadership development.
Physician leaders at hospitals must develop good communication skills and the ability to influence their peers at the hospital, and feel comfortable in such a role. Hospitals will need to support physician leadership education and training, says Ms. Baggot, in order to maximize the success of the co-management agreement.

Learn more about The Camden Group.

Read other coverage on orthopedic practice management:

- Challenges in Spine Practice Management: Q&A With Laser Spine Institute Executive Director Lester Morales


- 3 Mistakes Physician Owners Make When Developing a New ASC

- 6 Best Practices to Create a Thriving Orthopedic Practice

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