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From analytics to execution: Starting a new ambulatory network

Insight Article - March 15, 2022

Facilities

Strategic Planning

Marketing/Social Media

Growing amid medical group mergers and the formation of a new ambulatory network entails a lot of work: Removing legacy branding from merged facilities, bringing older spaces up to the new entity’s standardized practices, and even creating new sites of care.

An outdated exam room or two are easy to spot, but assessing the needed change across dozens of care environments across all New York City boroughs and Long Island required a lot of data to manage the vast new network of care built by EmblemHealth, composed of physician groups such as AdvantageCare Physicians New York (ACPNY) and Bronx Docs, community-based “neighborhood care” sites, dental offices and more.

Beth Leonard, chief corporate affairs officer, EmblemHealth, New York, and Wendy Weitzner, FACHE, partner, The Innova Group, Boston, detailed this massive, multiyear project during their session at the 2021 Medical Practice Excellence: Leaders Conference.

“New York City is the most diverse city in the world. … There are more than 800 languages spoken in our service area, with more than half of our patients speaking in a language other than English at home,” Leonard said, underscoring how neighborhood care sites for underserved communities often hire directly in the communities they serve.

EmblemHealth’s relationship with ACPNY is unique, Leonard added, in that they are Emblem’s preferred provider and more than 60% of ACPNY’s patient base is made up of EmblemHealth members despite ACP accepting more than 30 other payers, which makes them a popular choice for care in the neighborhoods served. Part of that popularity comes from culturally and linguistically aligning providers and care teams to each of those communities.

Focusing on what matters: Customer demand and core services

The organizations conducted surveys of current patients and the market to build a new facility footprint strategy. “Quality care became the driving factor of choice, even before convenience,” Leonard said, noting that patients said that experience with a provider was the chief consideration when making decisions about where to get care.

However, patients also noted that they preferred integrated facilities offering multiple services (e.g., labs, radiology, specialists) and the improved communication of medical records being available from one facility to the next.

​They soon realized that ACPNY’s specialties were not geographically distributed in a convenient way. Based on customer feedback, ACPNY evolved the care model to focus on three core areas — internal medicine, family medicine/pediatrics and OB/GYN — with eight specialty services and procedures that align with the population health care model (see Figure 2).

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