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Three winning strategies to help drive medical practice performance

From transparent communication amongst staff to maximizing technology, these three focus areas can enhance your bottom line and help retain talent.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

The 2018 MGMA DataDive Better Performers revealed top medical groups three common key strategies in cultivating success: build patient-focused and engaging cultures; focus on the long-term picture; and constantly strive to improve operations.


Those common strategies hold true among the 3,085 medical groups MGMA identified as "top-performing practices" in at least one of four categories -- operations, productivity, profitability and value.

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The 2017 MGMA DataDive Better Performers data came from 2,941 groups; 676 of those groups were considered better performers in at least one of the four same categories,, though only 32  achieved better performer designations in three or four categories. Better performers data is reported across multiple MGMA surveys, including the Practice Operations Survey, Cost and Revenue Survey, Management and Staff Compensation Survey and Physician Compensation and Production Survey. Participation in multiple MGMA surveys was required in order to be considered for better performer status.

The 2018 MGMA DataDive Better Performers project found that these practices were more productive, which meant lower general operating costs as a percentage of revenue, and higher per-physician income. Additionally, most better performing practices had shorter wait times, enhancing patient experience and overall satisfaction.


The three key strategies practices use to set themselves apart start with building an "engaging, patient-focused" culture. A common theme that emerged in better performers was effective and transparent communication between staff, providers, and patients. One example would be conducting staff, provider, and patient satisfaction surveys then distributing the results throughout the practice. Staff will be more able to pinpoint improvement opportunities and how to execute enhancements.

Second, top performers established a "clear vision" and goals such that they could prioritize long-term efforts while managing daily practice operations. Consistent reevaluation of their vision and the professed strategies to realize it was also important. Regularly monitoring of  performance and investment in analytic tools was integral to this.

Finally, better performers invested time and effort in new resources and maximized available tools and information to constantly improve on operations. They viewed technology as a tool to "streamline operations, improve communication, boost patient engagement and compliance, and deliver better insights."


"Any practice can achieve top performance when the people within it make a sustained effort to do more of the right things well," said Ken Hertz, Principal MGMA Consultant. "These efforts pay off for practices and patients alike. When practices invest in improving their business, patients are more efficiently served, increasing patient satisfaction and health outcomes, and improving patient retention rates. It's a feedback loop that benefits everyone."


The above strategies aren't just "good for business," but also stand to resonate through staff for better relations and higher job satisfaction. Effective and transparent communication amongst staff and providers will lead to less miscommunications and frustrations as well as operational hiccups making for a more pleasant work environment and better morale. 

If done is an all-encompassing and cooperative manner, establishment of an organization-wide vision puts all levels of the organization on the same page and focused on the same "prize" as well as fostering an environment where everyone feels they are the same team. In that type of environment then -- constantly working toward improvement will seem less like a chore and more like a passion.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
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