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UCP Re-engineering Project Continues to Move Forward
Published September 2008
If Phase I of the UC Physicians (UCP) Re-engineering Project can be symbolized by a set of blueprints, think of Phase II as a construction worker’s hard hat.
“We’ve got a lot more work ahead of us,” says Steve Roth of the family medicine department and facilitator of the ambitious project to merge the 15 UCP clinical practice corporations into a single nonprofit tax-exempt organization.
Roth made that prediction at the Phase I Report Event conducted in June at the Sharonville Convention Center.
More than 80 people, including department chairs, division heads, clinical department administrators and work group members, gathered to hear reports and updates from a dozen work groups involved with the project.
UC Physicians is the private practice group for clinical faculty members at the UC College of Medicine. The UCP Re-engineering Project involves a three-phase planning and implementation period that officially began this year with a unanimous vote of the UC Physicians Board of Directors on Feb. 28.
During Phase I, work groups met over a period of several months to assess current practices, identify issues, discuss solutions and arrive at recommendations.
Many of these recommendations were delivered at the Phase I Report Event. Simply put, Phase II’s scope is to examine recommendations, develare developing overall implementation plans and strategy statements in their areas.
Taking the Human Resources Work Group as an example, Roth puts it this way: “It’s like we’re starting with a brand new company, and we’re going to create a human resources (HR) department for a company that will have 1,300 employees.
So what are the processes and tasks that need to go into building an HR department and how do we implement this design?
“That’s the purpose of Phase II,” Roth says.
Or, as he said at the Phase I Report Event, “It’s about defining the nuts and bolts, the building blocks of the organization.”
Toward that end, work groups will be expected to: • Define the organizational structure for their area of expertise. • Develop operating budgets. • Develop an implementation plan. op implementation plans and centralize key functions where feasible.
Implementation officially begins under Phase III, and a crucial part of Phase II involves developing a detailed task list for creating an infrastructure capable of handling the overall implementation.
“UCP needs to take two more giant steps: creating an action plan (Phase II) and acting on the plan (Phase III),” says Thomas Boat, MD, executive associate dean of the College of Medicine and chief executive officer of UCP.
“If we are successful with Phase II, the entire process will go more smoothly and the outcomes will meet everyone’s needs.”
During Phase II, work groups • Develop specific benchmarks to measure progress. • Identify and analyze potential integration issues with other groups. • Define additional resources needed to achieve a successful integration of the clinical practices. Care is being taken to ensure that the process is done in the proper way, UCP executives stress.
“It will be done in such a way that advantages everyone,” says David Stern, MD, vice president of health affairs at UC, medicine dean and chair of the UCP Board of Directors.
“It’s not meant to be a rush to the finish line in any way.”
As Phase II unfolds, new members are being brought on to existing work groups, and groups are being encouraged to communicate with each other.
“We need to start thinking and acting like a single corporation,” Roth says.