Columbus, OH — At a time when substantial numbers of primary care physicians are disgruntled about their work environment and physician burnout reaches an all-time high, the physicians at Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC) are more satisfied and loyal than customers of some of the nation’s most beloved corporations.

A recent survey of COPC physicians showed their Net Promoter Score* of 85 is higher than Apple and Southwest Airlines.  In fact, the only constituents who appear to be more loyal than COPC physicians are the owners of a Tesla automobile.

“Every physician wants to work in an environment where his or her time and input is valued” commented David Neiger, MD, COPC primary care physician.  “COPC provides that and more.  Physicians are active participants in decision making regarding the practice and are financially rewarded as shareholders.  COPC also offers a delivery system specifically built for seniors through partnerships with local Medicare Advantage plans.  These value-based care programs allow me to spend more quality time with my patients.”

WCMH- TV Columbus interviews Dr. Wulf about the recent survey of COPC physicians where their Net Promoter Score of 85 is higher than Apple and Southwest Airlines. Click the image to watch the interview.

But for most primary care physicians the picture isn’t so rosy.  An editorial published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported burnout rates ranging from 30 to 65 percent across specialties, with the highest rates incurred by physicians at the front line of care, such as emergency medicine and primary care.  And a survey of 950 primary care physicians conducted by MDVIP revealed 83 percent of doctors say they wish they had more time with their patients.

COPC’s journey to creating happier physicians started with a culture shifting from fee-for-service to value-based care, a model used in every aspect of their practice.  To add to this initiative, the physician group executed a plan focusing on the quadruple aim: quality of care, physician satisfaction, patient experience, and efficiency of care.

In addition, COPC management, including hands-on CEO Bill Wulf, MD, points to the other reasons why this group’s physicians are happier at work:

  • Physicians have always been involved in COPC’s decision-making process. One physician representative from each of the 67 offices attends a monthly advisory committee meeting.
  • The company follows a shareholder model. Physicians are financially incentivized for their involvement as a shareholder and their ability to deliver quality patient care. Over 80% of COPC physicians are shareholders.
  • COPC physicians are less stressed at work because their overall compensation is increasingly tied to the quality of care scores instead of the number of patients they manage. Furthermore, COPC patients adhere to recommended preventive care screenings and immunizations at industry-leading rates.
  • They are also taking advantage of ancillary staff, such as nurse practitioners, to provide important preventive care to patients.
  • COPC has also entered into a long-term partnership with agilon health to enable the growth and development of a purpose-built care delivery program for Medicare Advantage patients.

And happy doctors go hand in hand with happy patients.  A recent survey of COPC patients who recently underwent an annual wellness visit confirms their satisfaction.

Vicki Spencer has been getting regular exams from Henry Sleesman, MD, a COPC internist at Riverside Medical Group, for more than 30 years.  “He is a wonderful man.  Not only is he an excellent doctor, but he also spends quality time with me,” Vicki admits.  “He remembers everything about my family and I feel like I can talk to him about anything.  And when I do my yearly health exams, he calls me back with the results of my blood tests, which are usually negative.  He always goes the extra mile.”

COPC has also been widely recognized for its commitment to quality and efficiency of care.  This physician group created an award-winning program that has significantly reduced the number of patients utilizing emergency care.  Their patients have also benefited from a reduction in skilled nursing facility (SNF) utilization, as COPC hospitalists have effectively discharged more patients directly to their homes.  These results clearly demonstrate that COPC is keeping quality patient care at the forefront of all their initiatives.

“The promise of value-based care is reflected in the satisfaction of COPC physicians,” said Amy Nguyen Howell, MD, chief medical officer at America’s Physician Groups.  “It provides them with the tools they need to increase time at the bedside while reducing the burden of paperwork.  By embracing this model, COPC has invested not only in its physicians but also in the patients and communities they serve.”


About Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC)

Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC) is the largest physician-owned primary care medical group in the United States.  COPC was established in 1996 when a group of 33 physicians chose to focus more on the quality of patient care they were providing and less on the administrative paperwork.  Today, they have over 375 providers and 67 practice locations throughout central Ohio, along with a full-service laboratory, radiology, cardiac testing, physical therapy and hospitalist services, and several first-rate disease management programs.

About agilon health

agilon health of Long Beach, California, a company founded in 2016 by world-class health care leaders, is helping U.S. physicians manage the leap from fee for service to value-based health care.  Recognizing the increasing pressure on physicians caused by the existing healthcare system, agilon health has created a complete operating platform for value-based healthcare that brings people, process and proprietary technology together in partnership with physicians to take responsibility for total healthcare spend.  The company has now expanded its operations to leading positions in six U.S. markets.

*Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships and is also used to gauge employee satisfaction.  It serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research and is a tool that correlates loyalty and satisfaction with business performance.  NPS has been widely adopted with more than two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies using the metric.  NPS scores greater than 50 are generally considered excellent.

COPC Medicare Advantage patient NPS survey

In Q1 2018, nearly 500 COPC patients covered by a Medicare Advantage plan were surveyed after undergoing an Annual Wellness Visit with a COPC primary care physician.  Of the 17% who responded, they resoundingly expressed their satisfaction with the Annual Wellness Visit experience with their COPC physician, awarding an NPS score of 55.  NPS scores greater than 50 are considered excellent and in fact, a 55 NPS for an Annual Wellness Visit exceeds the NPS reported by Apple customers.  Respondents shared that they especially valued the time their primary care physician spent reviewing their medications and evaluating their physical and cognitive capabilities.