Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adapting to the New Healthcare Market - Part II

As I indicated in last week's blog, I would articulae in this blog the six ways we can reignite the enthusiam and create not only a sustaining, but also thriving healthcare industry and environment. These are: 1. Agree that sustainable care must be high quality/low cost, affordable, and accessible to all. These paramenters are the driving forces embedded in the new healthcare reform act, and are important goals. These are goals that we, as all the various players in the healthcare market - providers, insurers, and vendors - should have had always as are ultimate goals for the roles we are playing in the delivery system. Clearly, we can only accomplish these goals by not only reducing our labor and supply costs, but by enhancing our revenue cycle processes and retructuring our clinical processes using medical portocols driven by the enormous amount of evidenced-based research that has been done, documented, and shared. 2. Physician voices must be heard. Assuming that physicians will express their opinions, along with the rationale for those opinions, in a professional manner, there voices must be listened to carefully, and incorporated as appropriate into the operational and strategic plans of the healthcare delivery process. This can be done through involving or providing to physicans and their extenders, the following: >Participation on Board or Management Committees >Soliciting their input through annual surveys >Offering then "complaint and suggestion" boxes >Having them vet the clinical evidenced-based medical protocols >Recognizing those that performance in an excellent and outstanding manner through appropriate reward programs 3. Support some principles embedded in the Reform Law because "it is the right thing to do! Four such principles include: >Value-based Purchasing Programs >Readmission Reductions >Shared Data with IM Financial support >Support Comparative Effectiveness Research 4. Enhance our Teaming Skills. We certainly have recognized that effective teams has always been critical for success in healthcare. But today, the committment to having a highly effective team and learning how to create and sustain such, must be taken to an even higher level of implementation. The "I" word today has little or no value since the complexities in heathcare must be addressed with sucessful tactics and strategies which can only be formatted by the best of mutliple minds working in an integrated fashion supported by the belief that 1 plus 1 must equal 11 to be truly successful in today's enviorment. In prior blogs......while the CEO of CHRISTUS Health......I wrote about how to create successful teams. These reflections can be found by accessing "Wiresidechates with Dr. Tom" directly. 5. See ourselves as partners with each other, rather than competitors or customers. It is very obvious that many of the failures in healthcare have been driven by a competitive model. Most hospital systems have decided to have everything their competitors all ready are offering, even if the data indicated there is no need for these additional services in the community they are both serving. This duplication of efforts have increased the costs of healthcare significantly, creating at times an unaffordable product that multiplied the number of people who can not access the services. This is the viscious circle, the cost and access curve, that must be broken, and then fixed. Why are we surprised? 6. Building and growing the US healthcare Brand. This must be done by creating a product that has consistyency of performance that is clearly visible to all that use it and can be substaniated by publishable metrics. All successful industries know that brand identity has integrity because when ever you encourter it, wherever you encounter it, and however you encounter it, it has the same benefits, values, and experiences. This integrity is clearly lacking in many of our programs and services from one day to the next. Although these six steps and initiatives seem clear and make sense, why is it that we will have difficulty implementing them? What will be the major constraints preventing us from reaching the top of the "excellence mountain"? The constraints are five in numbers, and will seem all too familar as we debriefed on our previous failures and identified what caused us not to be as successful as we hoped. These include: >Complacency with the staus quo >Vision constains...we can not see the future we must create >Resource contraints...we can not become the low cost provider so our lower margins still give us capital for operational and strategic investments >Teaming and consistency I articulated above >Lack of energy to change....we must never think it is easy, but always possible So the question we each must anwer......can we lead our people to overcome these constraints. Nest week, I will put forth the two questions which must be answered by each and everyone of us if tommow we will be successful in addressing the challenges of today.

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