MedSynergies Retools to Fit a Changing Healthcare Landscape

Irving-based MedSynergies is retooling and rebranding itself to serve a consolidating healthcare landscape.

The company created a management services organization joint venture with Texas Health Resources (THR) in 2009 called Texas Health MedSynergies to offer physicians a range of office management and business services. After primarily serving physician groups during its 16 years, it began helping health systems assimilate physician practices. The firm developed new services and saw the need to “connect the dots,” according to Frank Marshall, the company’s president.

The firm’s revenue grew nearly five-fold between 2006 and 2011. It ranked No. 8 Modern Healthcare’s list of the 40 fastest-growing healthcare companies in 2012

Now it has bundled its long-standing consulting and physician services and newer offerings into a suite of software and services it calls MSIGHT.

Marshall said MedSynergies’ new capabilities have been shaped by what health systems were asking them to do. The company saw a need to create a discipline and process to involve newly acquired physicians in system governance, giving them a greater voice in the healthcare system.

Marshall said system executives also needed a dashboard to be able to view quickly the performance of their physician organizations, and integrate it with hospital data to track overall financial performance. He said systems also needed a way to make it easier for primary-care physicians to refer patients within their networks and to be able to schedule those patients immediately. They also wanted to automate some aspects of population health by tracking patient data and calling patients to close gaps in care.

Under health reform, the most successful hospitals likely will be those that align tightly with physicians who answer the call for safer, more efficient, effective and patient-centered care.

Physicians appear ready to answer that call. The number of hospital-owned physician practices reached 55 percent in 2009, up from 50 percent in 2008 and 30 percent five years ago, according to the Medical Group Management Association.

According to Irving-based Merritt Hawkins, a physician-recruiting firm, more than half of its physician job searches were for hospitals for the year ending March 2010, compared with 45 percent the previous year and 19 percent five years earlier. The percentage of physicians who own their practices has been declining about 2 percentage points a year for the past 25 years.

According to a 2010 HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Unit report, 3 out of 4 hospital executives said they were getting more employment requests from physicians and they planned to hire more physicians within the next three years. More than 60 percent said they planned to buy medical groups.

More than half of physicians believe they will become more aligned with hospitals, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey. Further, roughly the same percentage wants to align more closely with hospitals to increase their income.

MSIGHT, Marshall said, was borne “out of the necessity and innovation.”

Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the new book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at [email protected]

Posted in News, Physicians.