Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates/Atrius Health

Semester: 2013 Spring

Students: Hema Patel & Sara del Nido

Atrius Health is an association of six multi-specialty, non-profit, physician group practices employing over 1,100 physicians and serving over 1,000,000 patients in Eastern and Central Massachusetts.

Due to intense external challenges and cost pressures, medical chiefs and directors at Harvard Vanguard/Atrius Health are being challenged to take practice performance to new levels. Site and specialty practices are being held responsible for: 1) improving the health of populations, 2) improving the patient experience, and 3) controlling costs. To accomplish this, they must hold their direct reports—both physicians and staff—accountable for performance outcomes.

Atrius Health’s Leadership Academy program has worked with HNMCP Director Bob Bordone over the past several years to teach “difficult conversation” tactics to medical chiefs and directors to support greater accountability and improve the performance metrics required by our payor AQC and ACO contracts. However, there is a perception is that these “difficult conversations” may not be taking place on a regular basis and/or are not resulting in progress towards Harvard Vanguard/Atrius Health’s goals. The purpose of this project is to partner with Atrius Health’s Leadership Development Program to design effective processes and curricula in order to support medical directors and chiefs in effective communication.

Our Work

  • Assess stakeholder views of the situation and the types of “difficult conversations” that need to be taking place around current strategic goals
  • Identify the current institutional options and strategies for handling conflict
  • Research best practices around handling conflict within and outside of the health care industry
  • Recommend improvements in the Leadership Academy’s curriculum for and support of “difficult conversations”

Deliverables Envisioned

  • Report on findings and recommendations for improvements in not only the Leadership Academy’s curriculum on how to have “difficult conversations,” but also on how it might offer ongoing support for graduates of the program.
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