Putting the Degree into Action: EMBA for Physicians Students present their Executive Team Consulting Projects

Earlier this month the EMBA Class of 2019 participated in the Executive Team Consulting Project (ETCP) interactive poster session. This session was the culmination of the 16-month capstone project where EMBA students led a team of colleagues in their organizations in addressing a significant management issue. All 41 students presented their posters in a series of rotations throughout the morning. ETCP Professor Dr. Sally Ourieff, and EMBA Program Director Dr. Jon Chilingerian joined the students in circulating to all of the posters and learning about each others’ projects. It was a great opportunity for the physicians to support their fellow classmates and gather ideas to address their own organizational challenges in the future.

The ETCP curriculum is designed to be a practical application of the learning physicians do throughout the course of the program. EMBA physicians are able to take their new understanding of the science of medicine and management to their own organizations. Many have seen a significant result from their project be it negotiating successfully with stakeholders, reaching consensus on tough decisions, or achieving notable improvement in various metrics (including quality and performance measures, operations, and the bottom line).

One physician analyzed and implemented the closing of a major service line to strengthen and focus his hospital’s service delivery and financial health. His region has multiple hospitals but still lacked beds. The line he chose to close was offered at other locations regionally and had low utilization (42% occupancy rate), thus freeing up beds for other high-need areas (an average of 10 people were held waiting for beds daily in another part of the hospital). In the first quarter after project implementation, there has been a revenue increase of 18%. The hospital is still waiting to complete the implementation, and they expect this percentage to increase even further at that time.

Another physician instituted a new financially beneficial imaging service line at his organization. This new line resulted in high patient satisfaction and financial benefit. It also improved employee morale due to a breakdown in silos between two departments and other byproducts of the project, such as improved scheduling.

Multiple physicians addressed various aspects of the opioid epidemic resulting in significant changes in prescribing patterns and access to care. One physician created a Pain Management Committee at a safety net institution, which resulted in a total decrease in narcotic utilization of 20% during a narcotic shortage. After the shortage was over, there was some recidivism, but decreases have continued. Another physician implemented a multifaceted response to reduce the overprescription of opioids in her medical center. As a result, prescriptions in the emergency department decreased by 20%.

Throughout the past 16 months, 41 organizations were touched by the students’ learning. Projects ranged from new entrepreneurial ventures to new service lines, to closed service lines. They have garnered significant organizational support, including one $300,000 grant for implementation. We are excited to see how these projects continue to evolve and what doors they are able to open for these physicians, their organizations, and their patients.

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