Douglas Ardoin, MD, MBA
Douglas Ardoin, MD, MBA

In the past few years, a growing number of physicians have taken leadership roles in hospitals and health systems. Given that value-based care is a team sport, this is a positive trend. Yet conflict between physicians and finance executives can arise because of their respective knowledge gaps and differing perspectives and work styles.

To work together effectively, finance executives and physician leaders need a better understanding of each other’s strengths. They also need to recognize how they can help each other leverage their distinct skills to build a strong value-based care delivery organization.

Collaboration between clinical and financial leadership produces the following personal and

Lucy Zielinski
Lucy Zielinski

organization-wide benefits:

  • Avoids time wasted in conflict
  • Lowers leadership turnover
  • Improves patient outcomes
  • Reduces costs

Today’s physician leaders are more likely than those in earlier eras to have received some finance training. However, most physicians still come to new leadership roles with a knowledge gap.

It is imperative that chief medical officers (CMOs) and other physician leaders understand how to read and interpret basic financial reports and spreadsheets. Finance leaders also should help physician leaders understand the following concepts of effective financial and clinical decision-making.

Marty Manning Lumina Health Partners
Marty Manning

As a discipline, financial management has honed systems and processes to collect and report information on revenue and expenses. That same rigor needs to be applied to managing utilization and quality metrics under value-based care programs.

Finance leaders can support physician leaders by using their expertise to provide relevant and timely data, ensure the data is accurate and consistent across periods of time and deliver that information to the right people at the right time in a meaningful and understandable format.

In addition, finance can help physician executives leverage the emerging “science” of data visualization to manage value-based care programs. For example, the ability to look at large quantities of data for entire populations over time is critical to detecting opportunities for improvement in utilization and quality metrics, and to identifying systemic or common reasons for deviations from national benchmarks. Read the remainder of this article by filling out the form below.

Douglas Ardoin, MD, MBA, is managing principal, Lucy Zielinski is managing partner, and Marty Manning is principal for Lumina Health Partners. This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of HFM magazine from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Learn more about these knowledge gaps and how to close them by downloading a complimentary reprint of this article using the form below.