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How Hospitals can Boost Their Profits While Providing Value in 2017

Introduction

Here we will break down different ways how hospitals can improve their profitability. Things like patient satisfaction, reduction of readmission rates and other unnecessary testings’ are just a few of them. Smart investment, like in techniques and worker education are new and fresh ideas, what hospitals are trying to implement more and more. Let’s take a deeper look…

hospital

A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all. /Michael LeBoeuf/

First things first – boosting patient satisfaction should be number one priority, no matter in what Business or industry you are working in. To have a constant customer flow, you must satisfy them, so they would be motivated and happy to come and use your service again.

If patients are satisfied throughout all aspects of their healthcare experience, then most likely they will return to the iconhospital that provided them with this service. Moreover, higher margins are associated with higher patient satisfaction. Hospitals who paid more attention to their patients and gave a superior experience earned bigger net margins that the other hospitals. These margins were 50% higher, compared to other hospitals who provided average customer experience and focused less on their patients.

Peer pressure and social norms are powerful influences on behaviour, and they are classic excuses. /Andrew Lansley/

Reducing readmissions is another way how hospitals can boost their profits. Readmissions can hit the hospitals pocket pretty hard. Additionally, it should be in a hospital own interest to reduce the number of readmissions they are providing. A lot of people may not like this fact, in order for hospitals to increase their profits, but this strategy is being implemented more and more nowadays.

 

As the Centre for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform has found out, “15-25 percent of people who are discharged from the hospital will be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days or less, and that many of these readmissions are preventable.”

And this can be done by data-driven changes across the full care system. Obtaining data on patients and after that – hosptlanalyzing the data would reduce readmission patients. Another way how to prevent readmissions is by providing follow-up care. After patient treatment, hospitals should still give these patients their attention within the next weeks and months, so they can do the treatment properly at their homes, and not by coming back to the hospital. As simple as that.

Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities. /Mark Twain/

It is estimated, that testing alone has wasted up to $5 billion each year. And a lot of professionals and workers in this field agrees that unnecessary procedures and tests are a serious problem in the healthcare system. How can this be done?

Spending more time and talking to patients is one of the solutions. Moreover, some patients ask specialists to administer their tests on them that they don’t need actually. Additionally, if the professional haven’t gathered and obtained enough information about the patient, he or she may believe that the patient indeed needs a test. In that way, thinking – the easiest and more efficient way to solve this problem – let’s make a test on this patient. Improved communication between patients and physicians can lead to a reduction in unnecessary tests.

You have to be constantly reinventing yourself and investing in the future. / Reid Hoffman/

Investing in the future is the smartest thing to do. We read and we talk about upcoming trends and new innovations within the healthcare industry. But are the hospitals and other organizations ready for this new technology boom? Is the staff trained to use and understand newest machines and data analytics? Investment in health IT systems to monitor utilization should be the smartest thing to do. Yes, in order to do that, the hospital must have a good amount of money. But think about benefits received from these investments.

Using effective technologies is another way how hospitals can improve their profits and run efficiently. Some hospitals are using different support systems to achieve positive financial outcomes. What these systems do is overseeing laboratory utilization. Decreasing the number of unnecessary tests meantime keeping patient care quality is another thing that these systems are able to track.

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. /Paul J. Meyer/

What we can learn and understand from this article – communication has become the link between efficiency and the effectiveness in the healthcare industry. Focusing on a communication strategy and channels is becoming widely used. As the healthcare moves from the hospital to the physician’s office, patient experience and expectations as a value are increasing. And it is not just a written text. It drives outcomes – 70% of deaths and injuries in the hospitals can be addressed to communication failures.

Lack of capital is one of the obstacles in order to improve communication in the company or organization. Changes in communication strategy can have an enormous impact and a positive effect. It is a matter of will and a matter of “know-how” in order to use this strategy properly.

Having happy and satisfied customers = bigger profit.

…as simple as that.

3 THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN THE CHANGING HEALTHCARE LANDSCAPE

Introduction

A lot of trends are transforming the U.S. healthcare landscape. It would be wrong if we would say, that just a few trends and innovations are shocking and changing its landscape. Not at all. Let’s break it down into two sections. In the first one, let’s talk more widely and mention facts that you may have heard already. In the second one, let’s go more in depth and talk about specific trends who may shift healthcare industry more noticeable.

First part

Not going into so many details, we can say that there are 4 main categories where to focus on:

Government: Medical expansion, new payment and delivery models

  • Affordable Care Act;
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment act; 
  • Increasing regulations; 
  1. Growing health economy: It is estimated, that by 2030, 1 out of 5 Americans will be at least 65 years old, which means that demand for chronic care will increase.

Additionally, bigger employment and investment is expected in this field – which is also nothing new

  • shifting demographics; 
  1. And again – technology: nanotechnology and other new ways of treatments are implemented day by day. From genetic breakthroughs to digital health. And we can only guess what will come next.
  • Mobile;
  • Cloud;
  • Analytics;
  • Social
  1. Paying less for a better service: People are demanding and expecting that in upcoming years healthcare services will get better in quality, but the costs will go down. For fewer dollars more – quality, transparency, evidence.
  • Better service;
  • Reduced costs;
  • Consumer transformation;

Hand in hand with these trends comes challenges for industry stakeholders. Opportunities and innovation are also there. One noticeable spectre is shifts from hospitals to lower cost sites. Another one is more personalized care – mass generalization will change to mass customization and precision.

Second part

As you can see, there are all kinds of characteristics floating around. Above mentioned ones are facts and trends that a lot of people have already heard. But after doing a deeper analysis, I wanted to put together a list of what challenges and trends we can expect in the healthcare industry in 2017. Take a look and let me know if you agree with them, and if I have missed anything. Here is my top 3:

Need to tolerate risk in a value-based purchasing

Healthcare industry has already determined that they are aware and implementing new strategies to survive value-based payment models. Some of the solutions could be:

  • Applying for Accountable Care Organization status;
  • Bundled payment arrangements;

It is not clear which of the strategies they focus more, and which of them are more favorable. And here comes data analysis and scenario building. To understand this one better, let’s build a scenario. So, if a hospital is doing a poor job with hospital-acquired conditions, value-based purchasing and high readmissions, it will be at risk for reduction. Moreover, medical care is reducing payments in many hospitals. Also, a new kind of risk looms are on the horizon. When Medical care is reducing payments, affected hospitals are publicly listed.

Because of that, nowadays, patients are searching online for different patient reviews and information, before selecting where they want to receive care. And the importance of social media also makes it easy to build a bad reputation and spread it quickly.

Growing interest in population health management

A lot of people in the healthcare industry are talking about a thing called “population health management“. But what it really means? You cannot find one and a common definition for that. And for those people who are trying to develop different strategies to be ready and to improve their health service, we found one easy understandable definition for that. Following definition was found on Health Catalyst:

“Population health management is a proactive application of strategies and interventions to defined cohorts of individuals across the continuum of healthcare delivery in an effort to maintain and/or improve the health of the individuals within the cohort at the lowest necessary cost.” 

First of all, health systems need to know more about the patients they serve. Success is now depending on the combination of deployment, technology, and content. And even now, you can see a lot of partnership and investment in this area. And of course – it is expected to continue.

Stronger collaboration

To survive the shift to value-based healthcare, it is important to make partnerships and collaborations. And these partnerships are happening not only within the healthcare industry but outside as well. We can only expect to see more joint projects and efforts. Here will be one example of the recent healthcare partnerships:

Allina Health made a dozen teams. The main goal is to bring community members together and talk about health issues in their neighbourhood. Then, all together trying to come up with solutions;

Final verdict

Long story short – people in the healthcare industry are trying to create higher value at lower costs. It somehow doesn’t make a sense, right? But it will. It should. And the formula how to make this, in reality, is pretty simple – value equals quality over cost.

Deliver better outcome for patients and decrease the overall costs of care can be solved. Clinicians are tracking their performance with analytics applications and digging into the date, in order to discover the relationship between clinical outcomes and cost. In this way, people within this field can see how creating value contribute to performance and growth. You may ask why it is so urgent. Well, consider that:

  • there are more than 13,000 baby boomers ageing into Medical care daily; 
  • the population in the U.S. is growing fast. According to Forbes, in upcoming years healthcare will spend $11,000 per person;

You cannot buy time. The more we wait, the more complicated it will be to adapt the new changes. And even now we are creating new patterns and trends in the healthcare industry. The longer we wait, the more it will cost to be implemented. We must react now.