Remembering Hospitals Are Not Immune, Is Key To Immunity
Jul 12, 2012 - 7:27:49 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - The healthcare system in America is not perfect – watch the news, go online or talk to anyone on the streets and it’s clear that most people are not satisfied with the quality or cost of their care. Payers and providers across the country are in constant fear of mergers, acquisitions or even government takeover. Despite these looming threats to survival, hospitals and other health care organizations still have some control and can make the decision now to mobilize tangible modifications to improve efficiency, communication and in turn, patient outcomes. Leaders in healthcare know that they must do something…but how to do it may remain a mysterious but not orphan disease. Below are steps hospital leaders can take to sustain and ensure success and survival during these uncertain times:
Change Your Lenses: View Your Organization More Holistically. It’s not that health leaders are not making improvements – blips of energy to change can be seen in various sectors of the organizations but frequently not horizontally and integrated throughout an organization. CFOs view success or failure through cost lenses; CMOs are focused on quality of care. Individual department heads are most concerned with ensuring their distinct sectors are efficient and often don’t view the organization as one body in need of a physical, but rather individual body parts with individual problems. Often, addressing one problem in one area of the organization, can lead to a problem in another. If individual departments are only able to see their distinctive problems and have blinders on to the rest of the organization, other issues arise and multiply. The organization as a whole needs to operate as a well-oiled machine.
Adopt IT to Deliver Care with Greater Speed and Less Waste We all know that the myth exists that when a healthcare organization zeroes in on speed, patient care automatically takes a hit, but a myth is exactly what it is. Within most hospital processes, there are often wasteful processes. Saving time, particularly by converging and consolidating information flow, can lower costs while also improving patient care. Synchronization across service and supply chain can improve waiting time, lower costs, avoid gaps and shortages.
Create and Foster an Active Culture of Improvement. Focusing on persistently and continuously improving should always be the goal of hospital and health organization leadership, not just under times of extreme stress and change. The instinct to streamline whenever practical can deliver both economic and clinical value for patients.
Innovate, Innovate, Innovate. Finding new solutions to the care continuum is absolutely critical for hospitals in 2012; . Moving forward, payers and care facilities like hospitals will be scrutinized in the same way businesses have been in the past. Recognizing that the same outside forces that have affected non-health related organizations since the beginning of time – cost, market and regulatory – now affect hospitals as well Managing these organizations with a holistic, actionable approach focused on improving patient experience is the best strategy for survival.
Every organization needs to be customer and consumer-focused. In this new and more accountable and competitive era, efficiency, communications and patient focus will be the best prescription for success!
Ron Wince is the CEO of Guidon Performance Solutions, a national hospital and health system consulting firm that has worked for over two decades with world-class organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Aetna, the American Red Cross, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, and many regional hospitals to help them transform themselves to meet the tsunami of new demands, regulations and pressures to streamline and improve patient outcomes.
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