How to Overcome Major Obstacles and End Up Better and Stronger

One Louisiana health system’s journey

Over the past several weeks, we have seen a number of natural disasters in the US. Could your organization survive an unprecedented natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, and eventually turn that into something positive? That’s what the Advisory Board’s “Lessons from the C-Suite” asked of Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health System, Louisiana’s largest health system.

Immediately following the storm, Thomas says that Ochsner and its board realized that to even maintain operations they had to think through how to get evacuated staff back into the city to relieve staff that was onsite during and following the storm. Beyond those immediate logistics, Thomas says their organization had another team that worked on their “go-forward” strategy, which included outreach to physicians to see if they were returning to the city and if they needed a place to practice. Ultimately, Thomas says that the devastation of the hurricane strengthened both Ochsner’s culture and resolve to restore and expand healthcare in New Orleans and the region.

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What Healthcare Executives Can Learn from P&G

Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest consumer-products company that aggressively expanded for years, recently announced that it will sell more than half of its brands.

Are you asking what this has to do with healthcare? Well, a lot actually.

Just like many of today’s health systems, P&G is in a very competitive and changing market. While it was successful under its former strategy for many, many years, leadership realized that the best way to continue to lead the market was to become more nimble. As Lindsey Dunn quoted in a recent Becker’s Hospital Review blog post, the idea is to “create a faster growing, more profitable company that’s far simpler to operate.”

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Connecting the Dots – Integrating Health Systems Post-Acquisition/Merger

Hospital and health system consolidations have been on the rise. The most recent statistics available indicated that there were 90 deals targeting 156 hospitals in 2011, according to “The Health Care Services Acquisition Report”, 18th Edition, by Irving Levin Associates. When the statistics for 2012 are finally tallied, an even higher number is expected.

This surge in consolidation is partially driven by provider responses to both the challenges and opportunities created by national and state healthcare reform. But mergers and consolidation also bring complex business considerations. If you add state and federal laws that can further complicate a transaction, healthcare leaders can find themselves facing even more potential obstacles.

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If it’s not your core competency: Outsource it

This third installment stemming from the round table discussion with supply chain leaders that MedSpeed recently hosted is focused on outsourcing.

In our session, participants reiterated what we have heard in previous discussions: healthcare is their specialty, not transportation. Operating an in-house courier network or managing multiple third party couriers steals valuable time and resources from a health system’s ability to focus on its core competency of high quality patient care. Moreover, the shift towards outsourcing in order to become more nimble and to more effectively manage resources is thematically applicable to other non-core functions within the health system.

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What a Waste – Up to $1 Trillion Annually is Wasted in Healthcare

As healthcare reform transitions from an abstract idea to a foregone conclusion, healthcare leaders are focused on uncovering inefficiencies in their systems.  Instead of merely slashing reimbursements or providing less care, we have a clear opportunity to do more — and provide the right care — with less waste and less spending. I recently read Mark Graban and Rob Harding’s article Cut Costs by Reducing Redundant or Inefficient Activity, in Hospitals & Health Networks, and agree with them that there is even more hidden waste to cut.

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