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Know Your Numbers, Your Market, Yourself


 

A self-described “numbers” guy, Troy Ahlstrom, MD, FHM, is always glad to get his hands on new data. As the CFO of Traverse City-based Hospitalists of Northern Michigan, he is a seasoned veteran of contract negotiations with new recruits or hospital administrators.

Dr. Ahlstrom encourages HM group leaders to understand their local markets, their competitors, and their hospital culture. Use that information, along with benchmarks from national surveys, to formulate expectations for your providers, he says.

“Oftentimes you are measured against the guy next door,” Dr. Ahlstrom says. “You have to know the numbers, because [administrators] are going to know the numbers.”

That’s good to know when new data are dropped on your desk. On Friday, HM group leaders will have access to the State of Hospital Medicine: 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data. The new report shows national median compensation is $215,000 for adult hospitalists; median compensation was $183,900 per adult hospitalist, according to SHM’s 2007-2008 report.

The national median for work RVUs per hospitalist FTE is 4,107, according to the new data. The national median for wRVUs per encounter is 1.86, and collections per work RVU is $45.57. (Visit the-hospitalist.org for more about the 2010 report and benchmarking your practice.)

The report, which offers new metrics, new layers of detail, and new tools to help group leaders analyze the data, compiled data from 4,211 hospitalists in 443 groups, a 30% increase in respondents over SHM’s 2007-2008 report. Dr. Ahlstrom, a member of SHM’s Practice Analysis committee, offers these tips for incorporating benchmarking data into your practice:

  1. Know your local market. “If you keep in mind your local needs, then you can look at the data and start to evaluate what parts are going to help you better formulate a practice that brings on the right people, does the right work, and continues to produce the amount of workload and compensation that makes sure they are happy in the future.”
  2. Evaluate how applicable the data is. “Pay attention to the total number of survey respondents in each category, and the standard deviation around the mean. … Find data sets that are most applicable to your practice.”
  3. Don’t focus on isolated data. “It’s important to look at trends in the data over time, and pick out where those trends are going to go.”
  4. Involve your people. “The more we are involved in understanding the trends in HM, the better we are going to plan where we are going in the future.”

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