Physicians Care Embraces the Future of Healthcare

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When we last spoke with Chris Doyle, MBA, chief executive officer of Physicians Care Surgical Hospital in Royersford, Penn., the Rothman Institute had just opened its newest medical building.

As the largest owner of Physicians Care, the Rothman Institute has coordinated with the original surgeon owners who created the hospital with the goal of achieving the highest quality of patient care. Over the last two years, Doyle told us, the facility has taken off very quickly.

Physicians Care Surgical Hospital serves as the west corridor for the Rothman Institute, and because the facility has been so busy, Rothman began shifting several surgeons to the hospital. This shift assisted Physicians Care in building up its case volume.

The relationship with the Rothman Institute also enabled Physicians Care to network with a pool of highly qualified candidates. Doyle said the hospital was able to engage with Thomas Jefferson University’s resident and fellowship training program as well, and it has become one of the centers the university uses for training.

Increasing orthopedic services

Thanks to its affiliation with the Rothman Institute, Physicians Care Surgical Hospital has been able to increase its orthopedic case volume by roughly 50 percent. These services deliver about 75 percent of the hospital’s revenue.

“In prior years we were largely outpatient with some other specialties, which we continue to provide as part of our complement of services, but the orthopedics has increased our inpatient capacity somewhere in the order of 35 percent over prior years,” Doyle said. “For us, this is significant because we are a small-capacity hospital.”

Physicians Care is now building up other services around its orthopedics line. This build-up has enabled the hospital to fortify the preadmission testing process.

“It gives us a focus and it helps the nurses perfect their craft,” Doyle said. “So they’re able to provide care that they can focus in one area and become well-educated in that area.”

Employee engagement is currently at 87 percent, which is well above the national average for their peer group, and a remarkable improvement considering it was at 50 percent when he was first hired.

Establishing valuable partnerships

Physicians Care has been serving as a hospital pilot site for software company Amkai SIS. Amkai has traditionally serviced a surgery-center model, but it is looking to transition into hospital systems. The pilot program has required Physicians Care to develop an inpatient module and begin meeting Meaningful Use standards.

“We love Meaningful Use,” Doyle said. “Some people have fought it. We have found that we have been able to master it. The features that are encouraged with Meaningful Use, such as the barcode scanners, we actually were not early adopters. We have since begun using them, and they are wonderful. We love them, and our nurses love them for the safety they deliver. We also have software programs which we have set up that are ancillary to our main EHR, which provides a consistency of care for our patients. The patients have actually commented on that in their patient surveys.”

The hospital has successfully tested for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and is looking to test for Stage 2 once CMS authorizes it.

Leading by embracing change

The best way for healthcare leaders to succeed right now, Doyle said, is by embracing the change within healthcare. “Whoever embraces this change will probably be seen as the best provider in healthcare. My team members need to know that if we’re embracing change, then I trust that that change is good for them and the organization and their patients.”

However, it’s not enough, he added, to embrace change. You also have to be transparent and clear about that change, especially if you’re a smaller organization. One thing his hospital does is share information with the staff, even if it’s not finalized, so they can receive feedback.

Doyle said he has learned a great deal from working closely with physicians who are genuinely interested in leadership. He and his team have begun shadowing surgeons in the OR and at the bedside to learn more about how leadership can support the physicians and how physicians can be active members within the leadership.

When surgeons and physicians join committees and governing boards, they can contribute to initiatives in valuable ways, such as targeting the cost of materials and supplies within the surgical community.

Inspiring people with their own success

It’s important to remind physicians, nurses, and the rest of your professional staff of the integral role they play in providing care, Doyle said. “People are most inspired by their own success. It provides a certain energy when we can identify the individual and team successes.”

Looking for ways to acknowledge staff members for real things they’re accomplishing will give them the strength to do more. In fact, he credits a culture of encouragement with helping them to achieve his proudest moment as a leader: Being ranked No. 3 in the nation for HCAHPS scores.

“The way we position our hospital is that we are obviously, according to our data, a much higher-quality facility than our peers throughout the country. And we do that because we are able to specialize in areas where others have not taken the initiative.”

As Physicians Care Surgical Hospital looks ahead, he and his leadership team plan to engage a larger health system within the next year. Physicians Care would like to partner with that healthcare organization as its Tier 1 provider.

“To us we do not see a reason to fight where the future of healthcare will be.”

The hospital’s leadership is also considering the addition of an ambulatory center and exploring ways to continue embracing the latest technologies. Doyle referenced the hospital’s use of Force Therapeutics last year, which enables them to discharge patients after training them to use an iPad or tablet to communicate with their surgeon and interact with their physical therapist.

“We see ourselves as a younger, slimmer, quicker organization,” Doyle said. “We are quicker to embrace the initiatives that larger facilities might have a bigger challenge with.”

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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