The 4 “P’s” of Medical Group Success

October 27, 2014

Marcus Lemonis of the TV show, The Profit, says that there are three “P’s” to business success:

1. People
2. Product
3. Procedures

But in terms of medical group success, there are actually four P’s:

1. People
2. Product – that is, your services
3. Procedures
4. Perception


The first, people, is clearly the most important.

No matter how great your product (that is, your services in the context of your medical group), if you fail to hire the right people, it will be as if you were trying to run a marathon with a 50 pound kettle bell strapped to your left ankle.

In many industries employers can hire for the right personality, not for the person’s past employment, training or technical competence. For most positions in healthcare, that’s not going to cut it. However, the concept of hiring only those people who fit within the group’s culture, which should be a culture of happy people giving their all to deliver the utmost customer care, still applies.

And, on the other side of the coin, if you discover that you have someone who doesn’t fit in, who causes trouble, who is disruptive, who upsets your customers no matter how you define “customers,” then they have to go and they have to go now.

Product: Your Services

Your product (that is, your services in the context of your medical group) has to be top-notch. Simply put, it’s the “price of admission” in the context of medical group success. It’s required to get you in the game. Alone, just like any single “P,” it won’t get you to the finish line.

But many medical groups appear to have snuck in through the back door. They tout great care, but they deliver something less. It’s what I call the Promise-Delivery GapTM.

Make sure you’ve come in through the front door.


Procedures are what keep those great people you’ve brought on board engaged in the proper work.

Procedures aren’t cookie-cutter recipes for patient care.

Rather, depending on the context, they are either broad themes allowing for flexibility, or they are tight requirements. But either way, the expectations and boundaries are clear.

For example, the concept of themes applies to many instances of the group’s physicians’ treatment of patients, while tight requirements apply to situations such as making sure that all claims are filed within X number of hours after a patient encounter.


Fortunately or unfortunately, perception plays a very large role. It’s the ribbon and bow that ties your people, products and procedures together into a wonderful package. Or, it’s the rope and noose with which your business is put out of its misery.

In the context of the four P’s, perception is the totality of the image projected by your group, as interpreted by the minds of those outside of the group.

That would include patients, referral sources, facilities, and payors. Depending on your practice, it can also include other, slightly more remote third parties, such as the local community, especially in a smaller geographic setting, a rural town, for instance.

Of course, depending on the skill of creating perception, it can play on a national or even world-wide basis: take the Mayo Clinic, for example.

Perception is like a balloon: It’s easy to build it up, but it’s fragile, too, very easy to damage. A dropped referral, a late start, a short temper, can pop the perception of your medical groups in a heartbeat.

That’s why it’s so important to hire right, fire fast, enact procedures to assure and monitor delivery, and to constantly understand, fortunately or unfortunately, that perception is reality.

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