Hospice Advisors Case Study
Title: Physician Advisory Board Strategy
Company: Albuquerque, NM
Date: March 12, 2015
Problem: Physician Engagement
Presenting Issues/Challenges:This hospice is not unlike others that work to better engage physicians in the end-of-life dialogue, ability to refer their patients for services and help a hospice grow and develop. This hospice was looking for a solid strategy other than having their salespeople calling upon physician’s offices to engage physicians.
Plan of Action: To address the issue/challenge, I helped this hospice developed a Physician Advisory Board (PAB). This strategy is outlined below. The purpose of the PAB was to engage physicians in a regular, on-goung dialogue to assist the hospice to stay in touch with community base physicians as well as strengthen referral relationships with key physicians. The PAB met three times per year and was NOT a stage for an “info-commercial” for the hospice but rather a collegial forum for exchange.
Here is how the PAB ran.
- To engage physicians in a positive business manner to assist the hospice serve more eligible hospice patients.
- To provide input and suggestions on how the hospice can improve the delivery of care and service to both patients as well as to the referral sources.
- To strengthen professional relationships with community based physicians.
- We invited a cross section of physicians (physicians that referred to us as well as those who did not refer to us).12 and 15 physicians were invited with a goal of having 10 to 12 physicians make the meeting.
- Once the physicians were identified, we had the salesperson associated with those physicians approach them and make a personal inquiry as to their interest in sitting on the Physician Advisory Board.
- Once the salesperson made contact with the physician and the physician expressed an interest a formal letter was sent to them.
- Select a central restaurant to host the dinner meetings. Keep the same location for all the PABs as it is easy for the physicians to remember.
- Select 3 dates over the next 12 months to hold 3 PAB meetings. Establish these dates from the start.
- Suggested staff at the meeting: Executive Director, the Medical Director for the hospice and the Clinical Leader.
- The purpose of the PAB and the principles to follow to guide the meeting are as follows:
- First seek to understand before we seek to be understood.
- These meetings are NOT intended to be “info-commercials.”
- Use a structured discussion approach to guide the PAB meetings.
- At the end of each PAB meeting, identify between 2 and 3 specific actions, activities, processes, project, etc. related to improvement of hospice care and services the hospice can work on between meetings to enable them to come back, and ask the PAB for further feedback and input. Use this process to build our credibility and commitment to the physicians for improvement.
- Use the PAB to deepen our relationships with these docs to enhance their comfort and allow us to serve and take care of their patients.
- The physicians were compensated fair-market value for their attending the PAB. We paid $200 for the evening in addition to dinner. We gave the physicians an opportunity to have their $200 donated to a charity of their choice.
One year into the strategy the following has occurred:
- We held 3 productive PAB meetings which strengthened our relationship with these physicians and saw an increase in these physicians’ use of hospice.
- Two improvement projects were identified and agreed upon to be worked on as a results of the PAB. Two PDCA projects were undertaken. One to improve feedback to referring physicians. The other lead to the development of a Referral App.
- Three PAB physicians agreed to invite 5 to 6 of their close physician colleagues to a dinner that the hospice sponsored. This helped the hospice expand its referral influence with community based physicians.
- The goal of strengthening physician engagement was achieved.