Understand how we got here — and how to move forward.



Win physician buy-in for value-based care


Fresh off sharp declines in fee-for-service volumes last year, many clinical executives I work with are revisiting their value-based care strategy. Whether their organization is new to risk or an early adopter, I’ve been urging these executives to think practically about what these changes in the financing model mean for frontline clinicians.

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The future of value-based care

Medicare and Medicaid risk is progressing (slowly) — but commercial risk will determine whether the industry tips toward a new cost and quality standard.


Physicians often experience value-based care as one-off changes in their clinical practice: another measure to code, a new care team member to work with, a different tool in the EHR. Truthfully, this is the same way that physicians see other strategic priorities manifest in their day-to-day. They encounter the operational changes first, disconnected from the larger strategy and “why.”

To guard against change fatigue, executives have waited to fully bring in physicians until after transforming financial and clinical models. And it’s easy for physician buy-in to become an afterthought when doing the heavy lifting to get your organization ready for risk.

But one of your most important steps as an executive (and also one of the hardest) is to communicate, overcommunicate, and communicate again until every physician can tell you why your organization is taking on risk—and their role in helping move that strategy forward.


Four principles to cement physician buy-in

Below, I’ve outlined four principles that every executive should incorporate into their physician buy-in strategy. While they may sound simple, they take time and energy to do well, and importantly, are iterative. Even the advanced organizations I work with regularly reground in these fundamentals. Leaders should expect to return to these principles again and again over the course of their organization’s transition to risk.

  • 1. Don’t sell risk as a “shiny new object.”
  • 2. Connect value-based care to existing priorities.
  • 3. Talk about their day-to-day—not yours.
  • 4. Use risk to advance clinician engagement too.

Parting thought: Send me your best physician education tools

These four principles have staying power, wherever you are in your transition to risk. Bookmark this page and plan to revisit it consistently.

In the meantime, my team is compiling effective talking points to help executives address difficult questions about value-based care. What are the hardest questions to answer? What messages resonate with your clinicians? Send me what is (and isn’t) working at

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