Discussing Hospital-Physician Collaboration with CFOs

Sunset over Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID

Sunset over Lake Coeur d’Alene, ID

Greetings from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the 43rd state in which I have had the privilege to work. I spoke at the ID HFMA on Engaging Physicians to Cut Costs without Diminishing Quality last week. This group proved that CPAs can have personality. When I asked a revenue cycle analyst how she felt about the coming shift from volume- to more value-based metrics, she said:


I am scared spitless.

Dr. Cohn presenting at ID HFMA conference on Engaging Physicians to Cut Costs

Dr. Cohn presenting at ID HFMA conference on Engaging Physicians to Cut Costs


During my presentation, I mentioned that improving physician-physician communication can incentivize physicians to look at implant costs from a patient’s perspective rather than dismissing them as the hospital’s problem. It was the cardiologists rather than hospital administrators who spurred orthopedists at a West Coast community hospital to analyze the outcomes of different hip and knee replacements and, finding no significant difference, to consolidate vendors from 8 to 2, saving over $5,000,000 over the 6-year life of the contract.

Because physicians respond better to bottom-up changes than top-down reforms, a compact between physicians and hospital leaders can clarify expectations and help both groups improve both the practice environment and care for their community.

Panel discussion on hospital-physician engagement

Panel discussion on hospital-physician engagement

Following my presentation, we invited members of the audience to submit questions to a panel of a hospital CEO, COO, CFO, and a surgeon. I learned that one way to help physicians become more attuned to community needs is to ask them to serve on the Foundation Board, where community leaders can interact with them.

The goal of the meeting was to help CFOs become strategic investors in improving care rather than feeling like the reactive CE NO. In doing so, we touched on a variety of issues, including how to manage generational issues and how to nudge aging physicians who have rudimentary keyboard skills. As my surgical residency program director confided to me:

We made progress on the Harvard Medical School faculty one funeral at a time.

It was a pleasure to discuss hospital-physician collaboration with CFOs.

Although healthcare will always remain a local issue based on local approaches to culture, it was reassuring to see people come together in a spirit of inquiry and reflection. May we continue to live in interesting times.

As always, I welcome your input to improve healthcare collaboration where you work. Please send me your comments and suggestions for improvement.

Kenneth H. Cohn

© 2013, all rights reserved


I have not received any compensation for writing this content. I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.




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