4-6 Page Paper


Operations Planning for a Group Medical Practice

Imagine that a group of physicians who are planning to open a single-specialty group practice has hired you as a consultant. Your job is to advise the physicians in creating a business plan that includes management strategies that will help ensure their success. The physicians have stipulated that the plan must promote medical excellence and limit their exposure to risks associated with the practice of medicine and the operational functions of the practice. In addition, they are aware that a public health emergency or natural disaster could have a significant impact on their practice, and therefor they want to include a strategy for emergency preparedness as part of their plan so that they will be able to manage their patients and help serve the community as needed.

Write a 4–6 page paper in which you:

  1. Compare and contrast the two main levels (i.e., internal comparison and external comparison) of financial benchmarking. Next, analyze the strategic purpose of each level of benchmarking and specify the overall importance of benchmarking as a financial planning tool for a medical practice.
  2. Recommend a Health Information Technology (HIT) system that includes an Electronic Health Record (EHR) for the new practice to implement. Support your recommendation by determining three main benefits of having this type of system for the practice.
  3. According to the text (p. 368), some of the main areas of risk exposure for a group practice include: property (general liability and safety), technology, and financial practices. Determine one specific hazard associated with one of these risk categories and propose a strategy to mitigate the impact this risk could have on the practice. Support your analysis with a real-life example.
  4. Determine the main functions of the practice that will need to remain operational before, during, and after a natural disaster or public health emergency. Next, suggest a strategy that the practice should take to maintain communication with employees and patients, secure patient and financial records, and ensure that resources will available to care for patients during a disaster or emergency. Provide a rationale for your response.
  5. Use at least three quality academic resources. Note: Wikipedia does not qualify as an academic resource.

This course requires the use of Strayer Writing Standards. For assistance and information, please refer to the Strayer Writing Standards link in the left-hand menu of your course. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.

The specific course learning outcome associated with this assignment is:

  • Create a business plan for a physician group practice that promotes medical excellence, limits exposure to risk, and provides a strategy for remaining operational during a disaster or public health emergency.







Text for page 268


The Risk Management Process

The business of healthcare is the delivery of clinical services. Consequently, the delivery of clinical care is the first risk exposure focus for most administrators. Although it is true that much of the liability the practice faces is because of perceived or actual failure to fulfill clinical duties, it is short-sighted to limit the risk management process to clinical risk management. Other exposure areas can result in losses that can be equally, if not more devastating to the business.

It becomes clear to the experienced risk manager that most risk originates in communication processes and systems. Just as is true in the context of patient care, it is also true in each process in a physician practice. In spite of how much they assist the practice from a data processing or technological perspective, communication systems such as telephones, tablet computers (e.g., iPads), digital phones with photo and video capabilities, computers, and on-call systems also can create exposures to risk. The billing process, starting with the gathering of personal and insurance information through the billing and collection process, presents exposures. The processes for banking, the procurement and maintenance of property, the purchase of supplies, and the employment of full-time and agency staff each presents an opportunity for risk exposures that should be managed.

Even those risks that appear unrelated to communication, such as property destruction or loss as a result of natural disasters, have at their core the need for effective coordination and communication. Together, the issues of exposure for the business are known as the practice’s total risk or enterprise-wide risk management. The concept of enterprise-wide risk management addresses this idea of exposures being evaluated independently of each other, as well as how they interrelate with every other aspect of the business.

The six primary categories of risk exposure in the office practice are:

  • Professional exposures (liability)
  • Personnel exposures
  • Property exposures (general liability and safety)
  • Financial exposures
  • Exposures from technology and its uses
  • Legal/regulatory exposures

Losses in any one of these categories can have a severe financial impact to the practice. When losses include more than one category, the exposures can be exponential. In order to address each of these areas of risk, the administrator or risk manager must carefully identify and analyze each aspect of the business operations. The risk management process consists of five steps:

  • Identify risk exposures.
  • Assess hazards to evaluate the risks.
  • Evaluate different techniques and combinations of techniques for loss control.
  • Select the best technique with the information available and implement it.
  • Monitor consistently to improve and refine techniques.

The application of these steps to each system and area of exposure generates the risk management plan for the practice.

Ultimately, the risks about which a practice should be most concerned are those that affect the ability of the practice to perform its functions and to remain fiscally viable. There are two kinds of losses that have the potential to adversely influence the practice. The first kinds of losses are those that occur frequently, resulting in many small losses and cumulative expense. The second kinds of losses are those that occur infrequently, but result in significantly larger unique losses. Consequently, although some perfunctory operations may appear to carry little risk, it is important that the individual conducting the risk assessment be willing to ask the question “What if?” at every level of operation.


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