In addition to our own research and experience with ACOs, Franklin Street is connecting with other healthcare marketers on the front lines to share their learnings.
Vice President Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
Dignity Health, Arizona
Q: Where are you in the ACO journey?
A: We started the ACO process about two and a half years ago. As part of the ACO leadership team, I started by identifying systems around the country who were at various points along the ACO / Clinical Integration journey. I set up personal and phone interviews to learn more about how they navigated the process, what worked, what didn’t and key lessons learned. We brought that information back and began to build our structure and communications framework. We filed with CMS in early September as the Arizona Care Network.
Q: What’s worked well so far?
A: One of our early projects was a patient centered medical home pilot program we started a couple years ago. Most of the practices involved have care coordinators. First year results have included a 8% decrease in per member per month (PMPM) medical costs, a 12% decrease in ED costs and a 15% decrease in inpatient cost per admission.
We immediately identified key physician leaders to work with us to build the infrastructure and identify priorities
We also have several collaborations going on including one with the Arizona State Physicians Association (ASPA) working with primary care physicians to assist in subsidizing the cost for electronic health record adoption. We provided on-going communications, information sessions CME classes on clinical integration and ACOs – and clearly identified our value proposition
We’ve had a successful physician recruitment strategy with over 980 physicians with about 18% primary care, 49% specialists and 33% hospital based.
Q: Lessons learned?
A: We’re in a very aggressive market and as we learned from our initial fact finding there is a great deal of communication, education and training and one-on-one discussions that are critical to the process.
Q: How did/do you market to physicians?
A: We have a dedicated field sales team and we collaborated with all levels of the organization so everyone was informed. We have also created a series of “data sheets” to support the effort. They are regularly revised and updated to reflect the responses from the market.
We discovered that the majority of questions were focused on wither operational or financial issues.
Data sheets included:
- Explaining Clinical Integration and ACOs
- Who we are
- Our hospitals
- Our Health Information Exchange (HIE)
- Business affiliations
- Our technology and physician integration opportunities
- Talking points (for fellow physicians and for their patients)
- Category 2 CPG codes (quality measures outlined by Medicare)
- Our ACO board members
- Our Distribution model
Q: How did/do you communicate with patient audiences?
A: We’re now beginning to develop our strategy on communicating to members and helping physicians and office staff successfully communicate the message. We recognize the importance that physicians and their staff will play is sending a positive message out to their patients and we want to do everything we can to support them.
We have to carefully communicate the value this process brings to the table, the value of more care coordination, the overall movement from fee-for-service to fee-for-value.
Q: What’s next?
A: We’re continuing the process of preparing for “Go-Live” on January 1, 2013. That includes identifying and adopting clinical protocols for the treatment of specific conditions and developing the data infrastructure to support those efforts. We’re also looking for new and innovative way to engage the members including social media, mobile applications and online health screening options.
How do Paul’s ACO experiences compare to yours? Any top takeaways for your planning process?
For more on ACO’s, check out the rest of our series:
- Tips on Successfully Marketing Accountable Care Organizations, Part 1: More Than Just Another Acronym
- Tips on Successfully Marketing Accountable Care Organizations, Part 2: Less Can Be More
- Tips on Successfully Marketing Accountable Care Organizations, Part 3: FAQs
- Tips on Successfully Marketing Accountable Care Organizations, Part 4: Lessons in Language