Dr. Jasuja received the 2022 Healthcare Leadership Award for Excellence in the physician category from PRC, a leader in the healthcare intelligence space.
The courses in the Physician MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business are designed to provide healthcare improvement takeaways that clinicians can apply immediately to their practices. Deepak Jasuja, MD, MBA’23, saw an opportunity to improve patient satisfaction in the outpatient clinics of Columbus Regional Health-Southern Indiana Nephrology and Hypertension. Using advanced statistical and analytical tools gained from the program, Dr. Jasuja took advantage of an enormous amount of survey data the system collected from 2021. He reviewed scores from more than 11,000 patient surveys on care within the outpatient practices in the Columbus, Indiana, area, which included primary care, specialty care and urgent care. Dr. Jasuja knew he needed to distill the information down to specific, actionable items for his team.
“Using these analytic models, I identified a need for providers to improve their listening skills. Even if you are a skilled clinician and good listener, it’s the patient’s perception of your listening skills and how you make them feel that matters most,” said Dr. Jasuja. “For the staff, we boiled it down to two takeaways: staff courtesy and friendliness, and staff understanding or caring. I shared this data with the providers and hospital leadership, and we have launched a pilot program to implement these changes over all five locations in the area.”
The tactics are straightforward: Create education materials to help providers and staff improve communication and non-verbal skills during patient visits and follow up with reviews of patient experience data. Dr. Jasuja plans to celebrate the team’s success after six months and institute staff appreciation measures along the way. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver a better patient experience by improving office morale.
“We’re shifting the paradigm to achieve milestones rather than just focusing on the scores. This establishes better relationships with our patients instead of a transactional experience,” Dr. Jasuja said. “We spend so much time at work; I feel like this is going to be a reset point for our team. I’ve been discussing this with our new VP of Quality, who’s very supportive. If it is successful, she’d like to see this incorporated at other practices.”
We’re shifting the paradigm to achieve milestones rather than just focusing on the scores.”
The more business tools he gained; the more opportunities Dr. Jasuja saw to lead improvements in his own practice. In “Strategic Marketing Management” with Clinical Associate Professor Tony Stovall, Dr. Jasuja finished work he’d begun on instituting ambulatory blood pressure monitoring protocols, the gold standard for hypertension diagnosis and management. “We have been working on incorporating this for nearly a year at the practice, and the marketing strategy lessons were very helpful in planning the communications, once we are ready for rollout,” he said. In the “Operations Analysis & Process Improvement” course with Associate Professor Amrou Awaysheh, Dr. Jasuja discovered a fascination with clinical operations. Through the course, he developed a recruitment tool for hiring new physicians.
“When we hire new nephrologists, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, they tend to be lifestyle oriented. They want to know what they’re getting themselves into,” Dr. Jasuja said. “I used the operations course project to develop a prospectus, or a process map, that explains to a new hire what their schedule will look like if they join us: You’ll have clinic on this day, dialysis this day and inpatient rounding here. It’s something I can use easily when we are interviewing candidates.”
The Physician MBA Program also helps clinicians grow as leaders. Dr. Jasuja says he’s developed soft skills that help him to better connect with his staff and gain greater buy-in for his new initiatives. He says his asks mean more coming from a physician who not only understands the daily clinical work but also grasps the business implications.
“When providers hear this information from a physician leader—someone who is in the trenches with them—it creates a different level of trust,” Dr. Jasuja said. “When a fellow physician says, ‘We’re doing great, but we have an opportunity to do better. I want to improve with you all,’ that sets a different tone than when it comes from outside.”
When providers hear this information from a physician leader—someone who is in the trenches with them—it creates a different level of trust.”
While the patient satisfaction project is ongoing, Dr. Jasuja says the benefits may be difficult to measure. An outpatient clinic’s increase in patient satisfaction may not show up on the balance sheet, but it will appear in more indirect ways.
“This is such intangible progress, but it will ultimately translate into market share,” he explained. “In a community like Columbus, and the other four counties in which that we see patients, we have competing systems. Market share and patient loyalty become very important.”
Dr. Jasuja says each new course in the Physician MBA brings another idea into sharper focus. He feels more empowered to take on challenges at work because he better understands how to lead it and how it will be received.
“You absolutely feel more empowered with the MBA. It removes a lot of uncertainty about whether your idea will work, whether it’s worth pursuing and how the C-suite is going to perceive it. The tools you gain help you assess which ideas to pursue,” Dr. Jasuja said. “You learn how to make a case for your idea, tell a story and make the business justification for it. The Kelley Physician MBA equips us to do that. I should’ve done this 10 years ago because I’m already seeing the value.”