By Brandon Roger, VP of Planning & Forecasting
Last week I shared four resolutions that hospitals can make for strategic and profitable growth in 2011. (See the first four resolutions here.) This week,I’m focusing on four more actionable resolutions that healthcare systems can implement immediately.
This set of resolutions is based on how we
work. Most health systems in 2011 have leaner staffs and are challenged to contain costs.
But, the demand for healthcare investment has
not slowed its evolving pace. New procedures,
new healthcare partners and disruptive technology advances have not declined at the same rate as the dollar’s value. It’s time for hospitals to focus on integration, convergence and building an integrated business development platform.
Resolution #5: Build analytic tools for rapid-cycle decision making
Physician and hospital integration and affiliation, coupled with ambulatory development, have made rapid-cycle decision making a pre-requisite skill for health leaders. Access to business analytics is a core competency for expediting decision making. There is little C-suite understanding or acceptance of lengthy data hunting and gathering. The ability to drill down to the lowest point possible of business analytics is a need for focused decision support.
Positioning your team as the go-to group for the information needed to make quick, strategic decisions is key for success in 2011. Here’s how:
- Build easily accessible, reliable business analytic tools that can be accessed by C-suite, leaders and managers.
- Use tools that include (but are not limited to): demographic data, inpatient discharge data (market share data), outpatient market penetration, current procedural profitability, current procedural volume, and current volume and revenue by point of care.
- Incorporate business analytics that can be drilled down by age, gender, payer, geography (i.e. zip code), provider, location, and procedure code (MS DRG, CPT, ICD-9 Diagnoses, ICD-9 Procedure).
#6: Engage in enterprise-wide dialogue and planning
Healthcare reform has catapulted dialogue about how to enhance care delivery and make it more cost effective and efficient. At the top of the “to do” list is determining the feasibility of the accountable care organizations (ACOs). Dialogue about the value and purpose of the ACO is countered with questions about how ACOs will be set-up, perform and operate. Patient-centric medicine, also referred to as the Medical Home model, has received new life – the model supports the ACO, patient management, and data management through a system’s points of care. Both topics have accelerated planning for integration and/or affiliation of physicians, hospitals and health systems.
Each health system in 2011 will need to determine if its strategy is to be an early adopter of change or maintain the status quo until final regulations and legislation are in place. Your to-do list?
- Determine the healthcare system’s appetite or desire to be either an early adopter of healthcare reform and change or to remain status-quo until guidelines and regulatory bodies identify a clear path.
- Initiate internal pilot projects targeting patient movement within your healthcare system’s points of care.
- Quantify patient movement within your system’s points of care — referral patterns, volume, revenue, downstream revenue and continuation margins.
#7: Build a culture of innovation, creativity and experimentation
Industry giants like Medtronic, P&G, and UPS have designed cultures of growth and change within their enterprises. To ensure a culture of enterprise innovation, they’ve placed a credible chief growth officer in charge. Innovation is grown when senior leaders are entrepreneurial and possess a thorough understanding of the company’s markets. Key to their success is experience in building new businesses, a sense of curiosity, an external focus and authority to act.
2011 promises to be a year of legislative change, healthcare reform and a changing economy. Take this opportunity to engage in change and innovation as an early adopter while repositioning the healthcare product.
- Identify market opportunities for product development, clinical pilot projects and unique partnerships. Much of the legislative healthcare reform identifies targets without the “how.” There is an opportunity to be innovative and create the delivery systems and tools necessary to attain the targets.
- Carve a portion of the current budget for innovation and creativity. The amount is not as important as the challenge to staff to try something different.
Resolution #8: Set and achieve GOAL — Growth, Optimize, Analytics, and Leverage
This resolution appears on an annual basis in my own healthcare resolutions. During the first quarter of the year, focusing on growth, optimizing resources, competing on business analytics, and leveraging your healthcare system’s assets within a defined market all sound realistic. By the third quarter, however, the reality hits and attention is drawn to short-term fixes, modification of existing strategies or easy change for immediate results.
Setting strategic goals is often effortless because they occur within a realm of brainstorming and philosophical rant. Various management styles can make it relatively painless to alter goals you don’t attain or explain away your inability to reach that goal.
In 2011, our resolution is to set AND achieve the goal:
- Maintain focus on programs, products, and services that produce strategic growth.
- Optimize the resources available. The business of healthcare is the health of the whole person. Shift this holistic perspective to the workplace and use the strength available when there is collaboration and partnership within healthcare leadership.
- Redirect attention to understanding trends and building predictive models. Use financial and clinical data to build forecasts and models foretelling the next iteration of the healthcare market. Business analytics are the fodder that fuels this growth.
- A physician practice, payer, hospital or integrated healthcare system has significantly invested in resources — people, sites of care, technology and administrative support tools. Most often these investments evolve into silos managed by a team of disparate leaders. Leverage all of your enterprise’s assets and you’ll find the convergence of resources and competencies can create amazing strength.
We join you in raising a glass and toasting 2011. Here is to a year of strategic and profitable growth!
Photo Credit: Carol Browne