Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

It is not all politics when talking healthcare

This past week held the first presidential debate between President Obama and hopeful Mitt Romney.  While the debate centered on domestic policy, each candidate at points spoke of the role that domestic issues have on U.S. global competitiveness, citing the US economy and unemployment as examples.  I believe that healthcare has an equal standing in this regards; a clear case can be made that our healthcare problems have a direct impact on US foreign policy.  This might be one of the few areas in the healthcare debate that both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama can agree.

Few disagree that certain domestic challenges have a direct and significant impact on US foreign policy.  Correspondingly, these domestic challenges limit what we can do outside of our borders.  Many people may cite issues like trade, education, and energy.  Healthcare should not be exempt from this conversation.  The current problems we are experiencing in healthcare (lack of access, poor quality, …

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Patient Satisfaction + Wait Times: More Important than Anything Else

Any patient can tell that several things can determine whether he or she is happy with a visit to their doctor’s office.  Many factors play a role in patient satisfaction, including the level of care provided by the physician, staff friendliness, facility cleanliness, speediness of answering telephone calls, and wait times.  Wait time (time spent in both the waiting room and exam room before seen by a doctor) in particular is frequently cited as the single most important factor in determining patient satisfaction.  In fact, a national survey found that 40% of the variance in patient satisfaction can be explained by the amount of time a patient waits to see their doctor.

Some have argued and even research has shown that the negative effect of long waiting time “may be so pervasive that good physician care cannot make up for it.”  (Probst 1997).  In other words, a patient could immediately bond with staff, meaningfully connect with their physician in the first minute …

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Lance Armstrong and Healthcare – Who Can You Trust?

Lance Armstrong is also a patient advocate. As a Stage 3 cancer survivor, he has spent over a decade developing the resources cancer patients should have access to; and through his foundation, which provides support, information, and resources across a plethora of mediums – including websites, mobile platforms, Apps, events, etc. However, after bowing in “defeat” to the USADA, his reputation – and trust – is now tarnished. Needless to say his legacy as a philanthropist is not in question, but his personal moral and ethical values are. Which leads me to the question – when it comes to healthcare content on the web, who can you trust?

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Role of Clinical Integration in Question of Doctors’ Relevance

Recently, another columnist on this blog posed a very serious and very pertinent question that the healthcare industry has been facing for some time now.  The question relates to how the current evolution and changes of the fundamental healthcare delivery model is gradually moving physicians away from the center focus of that system.  This was posed in an article that Mr. Olsen alluded to from The Economist titled, “The Future of Medicine:  Squeezing Out the Doctor“.   Among other topics, the original article and Mr. Olsen on this blog continued to discuss the impact that technology is gradually having on the way healthcare is delivered, such that today much less of a patient’s primary point of care is exclusively provided by their actual physician.

One of the primary drivers that the original article discusses can be summed up with this quote:  ”To treat the 21st century’s problems with a 20th century approach to health care would require an impossible number of …

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Sustainable Cost Reduction of Healthcare Delivery Requires an Aligned System

Healthcare providers from all setting of care (ambulatory, acute and post-acute) are feeling the constraints and reduction of healthcare reimbursement year over year. Reimbursement rates will continue to decline while healthcare demand grows. This is a burning platform requiring healthcare providers from all disciplines to look at their delivery and range of services, costs, utilization (supplies and resources) and associated clinical outcomes. The acute healthcare provider needs to take a leading role coordinating patient care across all the settings and help the delivery points of care (ambulatory and post-acute) understand their contribution, value, and associated costs. The acute care provider has the informatics and sophistication to measure the performance of each delivery point of care, provide feedback on clinical outcomes and associated costs. This information helps each organization assess their own practice patterns to make the appropriate adjustments in care …

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Are Docs Less Relevant Today Than Ever Before?

The Economist came out with an article last week, “Squeezing out the doctor:  The role of physicians at the centre of health care is under pressure,” which argues that a physician’s traditionally exalted status in our society is weakening.  The authors cite the health of the world is changing in a way that may find many physicians unprepared.  First, with technology becoming a larger part of health, the role that doctors play may be diminished or shaped in a way that gives less flexibility in their decision-making (through automation, variation elimination through evidence-based medicine, etc.).  In addition, as it is reported that about half of American adults have a chronic condition, many doctors who are educated to address episodic care (broken legs, flu, surgery, etc.) lack the training to deal with chronic health problems like diabetes and asthma.

I found this topic very relevant and thought I would continue the conversation myself.  It is true that …

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Do you know how your patients find you?

A patient who lives in a major metropolitan area such as Atlanta has many excellent choices about where they choose to receive their care. There are a plethora of orthopedic surgeons, hospitals, and rehab centers – many of which provide great care. The market is very competitive. This is a definite win for the patient; but what is the effect for providers? In a cluttered market, it has become increasingly challenging for providers to distinguish themselves and their services. Which leads us to the matter in question – Do you know how your patients find you?

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The Path of Least Resistance….or Fiduciary Responsibility

Are those broken eggs in your basket? It’s a great time to check!

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Growth in an ACO World

Later this month, fellow AJC blogger Mark Reiboldt and I will be presenting to financial executives and other healthcare leadership at the Dixie Institute for the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) on February 23.  Our topic examines how healthcare reform is taking shape today, particularly around accountable care and the coordination of care.  Specifically, we examine growth and what caregivers must consider in order to remain competitive in an evolving marketplace.  For today’s post, I thought I would highlight some of those points and why leaders in the industry cannot just sit idly on the sidelines today.  Inaction will likely have a much larger detrimental effect than any misstep made along the way to an integrated system.

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are the latest rage in healthcare.  You cannot attend a conference, seminar, or even inter-company meeting without hearing the muttering of those words when talking reform. …

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

There’s been a great deal of debate regarding mergers in healthcare. For regional or smaller community hospitals, their viability in many cases may depend heavily on larger economies of scale. What about doctors, physician practices and outpatient centers?  From a lender’s perspective, there is definitely strength in numbers!  

As shrinking reimbursement becomes the 800 pound gorilla for all healthcare providers, we have to look towards improving efficiencies to survive. From throughput and case management to materials management and contract negotiations, providers have to find ways to improve across the board and cut waste within their existing processes. On top of improved efficiencies, they have to continually drive volume growth.   Procedure rooms with the lights off during operating hours at an ASC are critical dollars missed.  On one side of town there’s a patient waiting 3 days or more for a scan and on the other side of town there’s a CT sitting idle. 

Single …

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