Ultimately, when crafting their provider-relations strategy, payers must remember that physicians—especially primary care physicians (PCPs)—play a critical role in payers’ care transformation and medical cost management goals. PCPs can be the most effective point of impact for containing health plans' member costs and closing care gaps.
But as the physician landscape continues to change, more stakeholders than ever are competing for physicians’ attention. That means it’s increasingly challenging for health plans to engage providers, and to keep them engaged, in plans’ strategic initiatives.
So, how can payers best appeal to and support physicians?
Traditionally, when we think of what payers can offer physician practices, we think of services including:
- Care management or population health data analytics
- Clinical support, such as embedded staff
- Financial support that enables providers to make necessary investments in their total-cost-of-care infrastructure
However, newer entities in the market (such as private equity groups or physician enablement vendors) now offer physician practices those same resources—meaning those offerings are no longer “nice to haves,” but are now baseline services that all physician partners must be willing to offer. Health plans must go a step further to differentiate themselves as an enabling, attractive partner for physicians.