SHM board member Burke Kealey, MD, SFHM, medical director of hospital specialties at HealthPartners Medical Group in St. Paul, Minn., says there is no easy way to know when it is the right time to grow. He offers four tips to hospitalist group leaders grappling with the question:
- Benchmark: Use the SHM survey, MGMA data, or local analyses to determine best practices. But don’t be a slave to data that don’t account for the particulars of your payor mix, patient population, etc.
- Network: Meet with group leaders in nearby practices. Talk to administrators. Understand the competitive set for your hospital and know what their data sets are.
- Communicate: Talk to doctors, C-suite executives, and everyone in between. Front-line physicians and nurses often know better than practice heads which resources are needed, and where.
- Stay flexible: Don’t be wedded to needing to grow. Maybe a group has physicians who want extra shifts to handle a new schedule. Maybe the installation of new technology will improve efficiency and eliminate the need for a new physician.