Well here we are, 2021! We have put 2020 in the rear-view mirror and it is now the dawn of a new day/year! So what is in store for us this year? The possibilities are endless. Planning for a new year should bring hope and positive thoughts to all of us. Why, some may ask? Well, for one, we made it through the year that was, 2020! Not many alive have lived through a pandemic before. Given that the last one was in 1918, the number of people to whom this was “been there, done that” will be few. And, even though we are still in the midst of our current pandemic, we are surviving and working together to defeat it.
We learned many valuable lessons in the past 12 months and we adapted. We may not like all of the adaptations, but we did what was necessary to make it through. I have always subscribed to the theory that a mistake is not bad, unless you don’t learn from it. Let’s learn from our mistakes of the past year and move forward to finding better solutions and doing so much more quickly than our “typical” speed. Look at the implementation of Telehealth if you want an example. Without the pandemic forcing our hand to implement Telehealth solutions, Insurance companies would still only cover Telehealth in very specific circumstances. Let’s embrace that methodology and apply it elsewhere to keep moving forward more expeditiously.
I consider myself an optimist (maybe not wide-eyed), but I choose to look for the positive every day. Every year National MGMA holds a meeting for the leaders of their State Affiliate Associations, Council of State Leaders (COSL). The meeting is typically held in Denver in January and I’ve attended several times. It is largely focused on bringing the State Leaders together to facilitate collaboration and to learn from each other. The meeting last year (2020) was the last time I have traveled anywhere outside of Pennsylvania. In 2021, I was skeptical about the impact it would have being held via a virtual platform. This meeting always seemed to offer an interactive experience with more networking than any of the other conferences I have attended. Although everyone attending separately did not allow for the level of collaboration we may have experienced in the past, it was a very collaborative activity. Using a Zoom platform and using tools I have not used with Zoom previously; it was surprisingly interactive and we found ways to involve everyone in attendance. Even self-proclaimed introverts were contributing to the conversation while remaining in their comfort zone. Those of us who attended from Pennsylvania, came away with several unique ideas for events we plan to hold in 2021. Additionally, we were awarded Second Place in the State Affiliate of the Year competition! I encourage you to watch our events calendar and plan on attending at least one of our virtual events this year. We continue to offer top-quality content and hope to add elements of networking, stress relief and entertainment to your experience.
Keep Pennsylvania MGMA on your watch list and reserve your spot at one of our upcoming events. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the experience. Even though we may not be able to be together in person (yet) you will feel the connection across the lines of electronic communication. Let’s turn our broken eggs into an omelet. Let’s make 2021 the year we emerge from our cocoon, transformed and ready to fly into our re-imagined future.
Traci Evans, FACMPE
By: Mary C. Kelly, PhD, Commander, US Navy, Retired
It is time to pivot. There’s no going back to the habits, routines, and the normal that we all enjoyed before the COVID-19 virus. Some leaders are hoping for a return to what life was like in 2019. There is no going back. Let that sink in. We are not going back. It is tempting to be nostalgic for a simpler time, when a dirty doorknob or a hotel remote was not considered a potential deadly threat. As leaders, we cannot wallow in self-pity for a simpler time.
There are 5 areas to examine to start looking for opportunities and action steps to move your team forward.
P - Purpose
People need to feel needed. Employees need to know that what they do matters. Great leaders imbue people with a sense of importance by listening to their ideas, getting their input, and listening to their concerns. They help them stay focused on the goals, give them a sense of belonging, and provide them with a vision that becomes their purpose.
I - Influence/Inspire
Great leaders exert influence and inspire others in the right ways, and they encourage those around them to do the same. How are we using abilities to create a positive influence on our people, our customers, our communities, and our families? The Hawaiian word for this was coined by George Kanahele, “Do the right thing, at the right time, to the right person, with the right spirit, every time.” As my niece says, “Use your powers for good.”
V - Volatility
People are struggling. Before making a judgment or an assumption about someone at work, in a store, or at the post office, understand that people are in a volatile situation. In the history of the world, we have never experienced anything like this. Rein in your first reaction and give people a little grace. Every major shift comes with uncertainty. On the volatility spectrum, assess what phase they may be in: Vague, Vulnerable, Vexed, Valuable, or Victorious and act accordingly.
O - Opportunity
Yes, the situation is serious, and we do not want to capitalize on the suffering of others, but in times of great change there are also great opportunities to serve others, shift your focus, change your product offerings, and respond to a rapidly changing market.
T - Tools/Training/Technology
What do we need to use, learn, or develop moving forward? What do we need to upgrade? Who can we contact for advice? What do we need to learn how to do?
About the Author
Dr. Mary Kelly
Value of Membership
Membership in Pennsylvania MGMA is a rolling 12-months. You can enroll as an Individual, Affiliate, Faculty or Student member.
By: Linda Jacky
terms of preserving patient relationships. Practice managers, for example, have been able to
increase patient access using telehealth and remote patient monitoring. They’ve been able to
communicate with patients via the portal and text messaging.
They’ve also been able to preserve relationships with life science reps. More specifically,
they’ve continued to receive critical education about new drugs and protocols using virtual
However, the current pandemic has also caused relationships to evolve. This article will focus on five ways in which relationships between medical practices and drug reps will evolve in 2021.
1. More virtual meetings.
Even when the COVID-19 vaccine is more available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that medical
practices will automatically open their physical doors to drug reps. Many may continue to limit in-person interactions and engage in virtual meetings instead. Providers may value the efficiency of video conferencing, and freeing up the waiting room is always a bonus.
A recent Accenture survey found that 87% of healthcare providers want either ‘all virtual’ or a
mix of ‘virtual’ and ‘in-person’ meetings even after the pandemic ends. The same survey found that 28% of providers with onsite restrictions for reps may extend those restrictions permanently. Another 44% said they would keep restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.
2. More focus on products that support self-administration and remote monitoring.
The Accenture study also found that 65% of all healthcare providers value self-administration
methods for patients (i.e., auto-injectors or on-body devices) more than they did pre-COVID-19. Sixty-two percent said they value tools for remote monitoring of their patients at home more than they did before COVID-19. Practices will increasingly make time for reps who promote these types of products that enable ease of administration and an ability to maintain adherence without physically visiting the office.
3. More focus on patient education.
Reps will increasingly go beyond providing product information alone. Sixty-nine respondents to the Accenture survey said digital patient education is more helpful now than ever before.
Sixty-five percent said they’ll look to their drug reps for information on how patients can
manage their condition in light of COVID-19.
In 2021, we’ll likely see more of an effort to provide clear and easy-to-understand patient
education materials on a variety of topics.
4. More focus on patient financial assistance programs.
The majority of providers (68%) said affordability programs are particularly helpful. This is
especially true for general practitioners and immunologists.
Life science reps will be increasingly tasked with providing information about these programs to help patients in financial distress who might otherwise delay or forgo treatment.
5. More relevant conversations in general.
Fifty-eight percent of healthcare providers said their pharmaceutical company has spammed
them with content during COVID-19, and the majority say that these companies don’t
understand the real impact of the virus on medical practices and patients. In the year ahead, we’ll likely see pharma companies provide reps with novel data to make conversations with healthcare providers more productive, personalized, and meaningful.
The year ahead will certainly be an interesting one for healthcare providers and life science reps alike. Navigating this critical relationship in the context of COVID-19 requires flexibility,
communication, and technology. How will your practice ensure that it makes the most of
relationships with reps in 2021 and beyond?
About the Author
Linda is the Customer Marketing Manager of RxVantage. She is focused on improving the customer and product experience to increase engagement. Linda lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young boys.
By: Trevor Strauss, MBA, Jackson Physician Search
As healthcare administrators pursue their 2021 physician staffing plans, it’s a perfect time to share the intel we’ve been gathering from physicians over the past six months. Jackson Physician Search asked physicians via our candidate email newsletter and job opportunity emails to answer a single poll question related to their career plans each month. The results offer insight that can help healthcare organizations gain an edge in their 2021 physician recruitment plans.
June 2020: Has COVID-19 prompted you to search for a new job?
Each year, the healthcare industry experiences physician turnover at a rate of 6-7%. Once the country began re-opening, we asked physicians if the pandemic had prompted them to search for a new job.
A striking 67% of physicians said, yes, COVID is influencing their decision to seek a new job opportunity.
July 2020: Would you accept a position based on a virtual interview alone (no on-site visit)?
August 2020: How many on-site or virtual interviews are needed for you to be comfortable making a career decision?
September 2020: Which aspect of the community tour most influences your decision to accept or reject a job offer?
October 2020: In making your employment decision, how important is it that your significant other accompany you on the interview and community tour?
November 2020: What is your ideal interview schedule?
6 Key Takeaways
About the Author
Trevor Strauss, MBA