Factors that Determine Physician Alignment Approach

There's a large difference between how small, rural hospitals and how large, urban ones approach physician alignment, although they all agree it is important.

There’s a large difference between how small, rural hospitals and how large, urban ones approach physician alignment, although they all agree it is important.

Survey data from Kurt Salmon and the Community Hospital 100 revealed that 82% of large, urban hospitals have physicians in paid leadership positions compared to 53% in small, rural hospitals.

While primary care was the number one priority for the majority of hospitals, other specialties that were high priorities differed by hospital size and location. Cardiovascular and neurology were more important for large, urban hospitals, while small, rural ones cited general surgery and orthopedics as higher priorities for physician alignment.

Reasons for pursuing physician alignment were also drastically different depending on which category the hospital fell into:

“Preparation for risk-based payment and population health strategy is a top reason large, urban hospitals are pursuing physician alignment,” according to an infograph by Kurt Salmon and the Community 100. “Referral growth strategy is a top reason small, rural hospitals are pursuing physician alignment.”

Despite the fact that small, rural hospitals are not equal to their large, urban counterparts when it comes to engagement and alignment, all types of community hospitals say clinical integration is a key strategy and alignment of physicians is essential.

Eighty-eight percent of hospitals indicated that over the next two years, furthering clinical integration is a high strategic priority, while 79% indicate physicians developing and following clinical protocols is a high strategic priority.