Insights from Ludi

Physician Agreement Management Pitfalls To Look Out For

Posted by Pascale Dargis on May 30, 2017 3:18:37 PM

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Administrative physician agreements have been written for your physicians with help from your legal department or counsel. The clauses are there to be followed for numerous reasons. Perhaps it is to meet your organization’s goals with the way you align with doctors as well as for a variety of compliance reasons. Whatever the reason, it’s important to handle your physician agreements in the way they’re written, even if they’re complex. Failure to do so leaves room for incredible consequences that can affect your organization in a variety of ways.

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Complex process for physicians

Physicians care most about their patients, yet are bombarded by many administrative tasks in addition to their administrative agreements. Giving time back to a physician is essential when trying to build a beneficial partnership and work with happy doctors. The best way to give your physicians the gift of time is creating more efficient processes for them. For example, if you’re employing or contracting with physicians in an administrative capacity and are doing so in a compliant way, you’re asking your doctors to submit time logs on a monthly basis in order to pay them. Doing this on paper can be confusing, lead to the wrong duties being paid out and is an antiquated process that takes too much time for a physician to create and submit. Automation of this process keeps parameters of the contract top of mind while saving physicians time from a complex process. All they should need for something as trivial as submitting time logs is a web-enabled device.

Complex process for administration

A paper-based process is complicated for physicians, which means it’s 10x more so for administration to manage. In working with our 70+ clients, we’ve found that paper time logs can go through up to 35 steps. Even just receiving the time log by the submission deadline can become a daunting task, so imagine adding layers of approval, comparison of the time log to the original agreement, final signoff, and then handoff to accounts payable. Paper gets lost, handwriting can be illegible, and payments can be duplicated. Where automation can alleviate these frustrations most, is creating a seamless process from time log submission through AP handoff all being sure the right duties are being paid.

Lack of tracking

We tend to use the phrase ‘you can’t measure something you don’t manage.' Without having a good way to manage your physician agreements using automation, it’s impossible to really measure your overall spend on these agreements, or understand where your physicians are spending a majority of their time. It’s hard to see the number of agreements you have by specialty or the number of hours in agreements that go ‘unused’ every month, as well as view a comparison of estimated vs actualized spend, etc. It might be hard to track when agreements are up for renewal and when they’ve expired. Automation of the management of your agreements is much different than having them stored away in a contract management system (CMS), which can’t give you any of the analytics you need to better evaluate how your agreements are helping your organization overall.

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Topics: physician agreements, physician errors, physician management, hospital management