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Medical Practice Excellence Conference


Why Attend

10/18 at 8:00 AM to 10/21/2020 at 12:00 PM

Welcome to The Ascent | Medical Practice Excellence Conference Blog

Elevate your trajectory to the Medical Practice Excellence Conference with content curated from our 2020 session schedule, exploring the big questions our speakers plan to answer this October, as well as conference news, updates and resources.

May 28, 2020

A steady captain in a stormy sea: 8 effective ways to lead in crisis 

Aimee Greeter, MPH, FACHE, senior vice president, Coker Group, spends most of her time working on strategy and physician alignment. But since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary concerns she encounters are less about five-year plans and much more transactional, such as ensuring a practice can make payroll amid lower volumes and revenues. 

“I didn’t think that this is what I was going to be doing in 2020,” Greeter says, who will co-present alongside Alan Vierling, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FABC, senior vice president, Sparrow Hospital, on the topic of managing through crisis in a healthcare organization. Vierling previously worked as chief executive officer of a hospital in Houston, Texas, during Hurricane Harvey, and the experiences helped inform what an eight-step process for responding look like.  

Those eight steps “are literally what you need to do when crisis strikes,” Greeter says, discussing the upcoming session at the Medical Practice Excellence Conference. 

Leadership in times of crisis is very different than during normal day-to-day operations, and the session is focused on helping leaders remind employees of organizational goals and values in troubling times, as well as how to provide a stabilizing voice when a crisis occurs, whether it comes in the form of national headlines or internal turmoil. 

Greeter and Vierling will provide methods that help create an atmosphere of psychological safety for the organization. They also will detail the Stabilize, Mobilize and Capitalize (SMC) approach to consider, contain and de-escalate crises as they arise. Their session also will discuss how attendees can apply the key components of a crisis communication plan. 
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May 20, 2020

Beyond champions: Building an adaptive culture for practice excellence 

“I appointed a champion for this project — why didn’t it succeed?” 

That question is central to “Advancing Patient Access Through Leadership and Change Management,” an upcoming session at the Medical Practice Excellence Conference co-presented by Brian Bacak, MD, FAAFP, associate vice chair for clinical affairs, Department of Family Medicine, and medical director for UC Health Patient Line, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, and Stephen A. McMillen, MHA, senior manager, ECG Management Consultants.  

“I think most leaders of medical groups and physician practices know what access is, why it's important and, at a high level, what they should be doing to improve access, but … one thing that we've seen fairly often is that they just don't have the leadership structure in place to do so,” McMillen said.  

That’s why simply having a project “champion” to lead the effort isn’t enough. Champions can assume brief ownership of a project and communicate it to clinicians, Bacak said, “but there's a big difference between appointing a project champion and creating an enduring foundation for change.” 

One key to success is ensuring that champion and the full team have “the right communication tactics and change management techniques to actually make these happen,” McMillen said.  

“When you're looking at cultivating excellence in an organization, … that doesn't happen overnight,” Bacak said. “You can't just flip a switch and create excellence out of nothing. It requires quite a bit of preparation over time and some fundamental, foundational elements to ensure success in the future.”  

For Bacak and the UC Health contact center team, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic meant the need to expand telehealth access — from fewer than 200 visits a month to 4,000 a day. “But that occurred because of work that was initiated years ago,” Bacak said, noting ongoing work to improve patient experience and standardize the level of service across the organization.  

That meant technology upgrades and reorganizing the ambulatory scheduling environment — adjusting templates, creating new appointment types and standardizing everything across 62 primary care clinics. But most important, Bacak said, were the communication structures across the organization that helped cultivate an “adaptive culture with a lot of capacity for change,” which was vital in responding to COVID-19. 

“The ability to stand up a COVID-10 nursing pod and virtual urgent care center that already had a connection with our contact center meant that when these processes were being scaled up, we already had the existing communication channels” to facilitate culture change, Bacak said. “We had a way to shoot ideas up and bring them back down. I don't know that we would have been able to have been successful at addressing COVID-19 in the way we have without the foundational work that we did in building the contact center” and the resulting culture change. 

In their session at Medical Practice Excellence Conference, attendees will consider change management tactics based on organizational culture, as well as communication tactics from other organizations to determine how best leadership can support efforts to improve patient access.   

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