It’s all about collaboration

At today’s healthcare organizations, the role of CFO is evolving.  CFOs continue to be involved in high-level financial strategy, but they are also increasingly looking at ways to improve day-to-day operations. It’s really not surprising since in this era of diminishing margins, well-run operations are especially important to the financial health of hospitals and health systems.

To delve further into these new roles of CFOs, Becker’s Healthcare and Bank of America Merrill Lynch conducted a survey of healthcare financial leaders and a subsequent roundtable discussion from which they created an eBook, The Quest for Sustainability and the Evolution of the CFO.

Here are some of the takeaways that resonated most with me.

As the role of CFO overlaps more and more with that of the COO, one CFO commented, “I think that the two roles definitely should be … joined at the hip. … It just makes for a much stronger approach to the type of problem solving that we’ll need to have in the future.”

Increased financial pressures are forcing healthcare organizations to consider cost-cutting initiatives in areas of operations that are often outside the purview of the CFO, including labor management and supply chain. The result is a far more collaborative relationship between CFO and COO.

The eBook points out that hospitals that have CFOs and COOs working closely tend to have a more cohesive culture, but these relationships need to place an emphasis on the real-time exchange of financial and operations data between leaders instead of retroactively assessing data at the end of every month. In other words: work together; collaborate; because there’s no room for Monday morning quarterbacking in healthcare.

One of the CFOs discussed the importance of creating partnerships and collaborating in ways that are transparent. “We can’t be hospital-centric anymore,” she said.  “We’ve really got to be able to look at the entire delivery system and invest in the right places.”

And then (in my opinion), she really gets to the heart of the matter.

“You need to draw the line and understand what you’re good at, what your core competency is and then look for partnerships where they can help you shore up your strategic initiatives. Don’t try to be all things to all people … look for partners that can help you be successful in [your] core competencies or engage in a new strategy in an area where [they’re] strong … all of that is going to be absolutely critical to the future financial sustainability of an organization.”

Collaboration has to happen inside and outside of the hospital walls. If we’re going to succeed at delivering better care at lower costs, it’s going to take everyone working together to make it happen.

Another Successful Summer for MedSpeed Interns

By Angie Gray, Vice President of Human Resources, MedSpeed

Last week, seven college students wrapped up their summer internships with MedSpeed. We were fortunate—as we have been in the past—to host students from universities across the country. The “Class of 2018” worked at seven different MedSpeed locations, most of them focusing on operations, and one who focused on marketing here at our support office.

Every summer, our company is infused with the fresh perspective and innovative ideas of our interns. MedSpeed’s intern program is a significant source of talent for early career positions and leadership development.  In fact, last summer we had an intern who we hired as a supervisor who has now moved into implementation, and this year we offered a full-time position to one intern upon graduation.

Internship programs are a great (two-way) learning experience and our human resources team partners closely with intern program leaders to ensure that our interns are given meaningful assignments and a rich experience. We want to drive greater engagement and attract and retain the next generation of MedSpeeders.

Thanks to our 2018 interns for their hard work, commitment and enthusiasm. We hope that you found this experience rewarding, both personally and professionally, and thank you for sharing your summer with us.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in exploring careers or internships with MedSpeed, please reach out to our HR team at hr@medspeed.com for more information.  We can’t wait to meet the Class of 2019!

Culture, People, Common Goals and Intra-Company Logistics in 2025

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Dave Johnson, CEO of 4sight Health to talk about MedSpeed’s journey over the past 18+ years, from a business school concept to where our company has grown today: with close to 2000 MedSpeeders in 29 states.

Dave’s a great interviewer and we covered a lot of ground in this particular podcast. We talked about the importance of tech solutions and processes, but how both are dwarfed in comparison to culture and people. That fact is evident every day at our company where the stars on our team are the MedSpeeders who support our customers and their patients each day.

We also discussed the importance of forming strategic partnerships with our customers, which means we’re on the same side of the table, looking at shared common goals. It has to be that way if we’re all going to succeed. By helping healthcare organizations constructively evolve, we can help them deliver superior healthcare.

I did talk a bit about what may feel distant today, but what intra-company logistics could help accomplish by 2025. We’ll have to wait seven years to see how accurate I am about that.

In the meantime, I invite you to listen to the full podcast here.

Listening to customers: How that is growing the farm-to-hospital trend

By Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships

Farm-to-hospital; it’s a growing trend. A couple of years ago I wrote about the (then) innovative idea of serving healthier food with wider choices at hospitals—a la hipster restaurants. I recently ran across yet another article about a hospital changing the food they serve and how they’ve listened to their “customers” who include their own employees.

“We take our staff’s feedback seriously,” said a chief operating officer about a hospital’s recent decision to open an on-premise micro market that is open 24-hours a day and offers healthy food choices. Hospitals are staffed 24/7 and the hospital wanted to ensure that their employees could benefit from the new healthier choices too.

Sure, marketing is about selling your product or service to attract new customers, but it should be more than that. It should be about listening to all of your stakeholders, including employees, meeting their needs and developing innovative ways to create a win-win situation.

This kind of internal approach to population health seems like a gimme, but those of us who have had some pretty terrible hospital food in the past know that it’s not.  Hospitals are recognizing the growing demand for a more diversified dining experience and meeting the meal preferences for patients and employees, whether gluten-free, kosher, vegetarian or vegan is important.

This isn’t a marketing gimmick. Instead, this movement is a way for organizations to genuinely improve the health of their employees, patients and communities. By innovating and offering a wider variety of healthier choices, everyone is not only healthier, they’re happier.

Equipment sharing: Is your Healthcare organization missing out on this cost-saving and revenue-generating idea?

Typically, “cost-saving” and “revenue-generating” aren’t uttered in the same breath. But, when equipment sharing is done right, that’s exactly the benefit to healthcare organizations.

The plain truth is, sharing not only offers cost savings, it can also support expanding care and increased revenue capture. And what healthcare organization isn’t looking for that?

By sharing equipment, providers can offer a wider variety of services at facilities throughout the system. Beyond that, equipment sharing helps leaders justify the purchase of new, high-tech devices because they can and will be utilized across multiple facilities.

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Achieving High-Reliability Requires a Holistic Perspective

Providing healthcare has gravity, because the consequences of failure can be dire. Operating in this environment has driven many healthcare organizations to strive to become a High-Reliability Organization, or HRO. HROs are organizations that operate in complex, high-risk environments with fewer than normal accidents or catastrophic failures.

High-reliability is important in direct clinical activities, but high-reliability is just as important for support functions that have an indirect but significant impact on outcomes. Think about it: a late supply delivery or a damaged lab sample can negatively impact care and patient outcomes. Conversely, efficient and reliable intra-company logistics supports providers’ commitments to high-reliability.

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Partnering for Innovation: Break the Mold and Let Vendors Work for You

By Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, Vice President of Marketing, MedSpeed

To solicit the most competitive bid for goods or services, healthcare organizations frequently issue a traditional Request for Proposal (RFP) to various vendors. Sure, a traditional RFP should get you the best price on beds for your new hospital wing, but it may not be the most effective way to solicit proposals for services because purchasing services is often very different.

An RFP predetermines the right solution for a problem, which makes sense for product purchases, but could mean missed opportunities when purchasing services.

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Turns Out, Intra-Company Logistics & Transportation Are Important to Healthcare Leaders

A recent survey conducted by The Health Management Academy found that logistics and the coordination of transportation across healthcare organizations is increasingly important to healthcare leaders, which is no surprise but nonetheless great for our industry. The survey polled Chief Operating Officers (COOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs) at 21 leading health systems about their awareness, perspective and strategy around intra-company logistics.

More than three-quarters (76%) reported that their health system has been involved in activities that have increased the scale and/or complexity of the organization in the past 18 months, and of those, 69% have seen an impact on the organization’s transportation operations.

I was especially encouraged by two major findings from the survey:

  • 75% reported that their organization has a defined strategy for intra-company logistics
  • 100% reported that achieving systemness is very important to their health system
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MedSpeed on the Crain’s Fast 50

I am pleased to share that MedSpeed is one of Crain’s Chicago Business Fast 50, which recognizes the 50 Chicagoland businesses with the highest five-year growth rates. Nice honor aside, milestones like this make me think back to the days when we were a small team in a single office outside of Chicago with the ambition of making a positive contribution to healthcare by delivering health to patients, providers and their communities. It also makes me think about how we got from there to where we are now, which I think really comes down to two key points.

First, there was a need for a more strategic approach to connecting healthcare facilities. Our service not only eliminates waste and provides exceptional quality, but also helps healthcare organizations to harness the economies of scale as they grow and change. This is something that is more important than ever in a new healthcare environment of value-based care and system consolidation.

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In an Era of Big Data, the Key Is Integration

By Dan Blake, Chief Technology Officer, MedSpeed

In the era of big data, integration is key, but unfortunately, healthcare software has a long way to go in terms of interoperability and integration. Too often there’s a lack of transparency and automated integration—aspects that have been commonplace for years in other industries like retail and finance. If healthcare providers and those who partner with them want to mimic the customer experience and efficient workflows of retail and finance, it’s imperative that all partners and health systems address these integration shortcomings.

As an intra-company logistics provider, data integration is particularly critical. We integrate clinical, financial and supply chain data from disparate systems, to help our clients better manage costs, better track utilization, and procure and move products in an efficient and timely manner.

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