Systemness: Integrating to deliver seamless, cost-effective, high quality care

Systemness is a term that is being used more and more frequently in healthcare. The word itself is a bit clumsy, but its meaning very much affects our industry.

A recent post from the Advisory Board Company describes it this way, “at its essence, systemness is about integrating all aspects of a health system’s governance, operations, and workflows—across all technologies, clinicians, and locations—to deliver seamless, cost-effective, high-quality care.”

The Advisory Board recently conducted a survey of over 150 health system executives, and the conclusion was that those leaders said, “in no uncertain terms that their organizational success depends on greater integration, and greater integration depends on their ability to do concrete things that reduce variation, improve coordination, and improve the flow of information.”

We too recently surveyed more than 100 healthcare leaders on issues related to systemness. In that survey that we conducted with Becker’s Hospital Review, 85% of executives responded that they know what an efficient and integrated organization looks like, yet 40% of them acknowledge that they are unsure of how to get there. Unfortunately, what that means is that while the majority of hospital and health system executives can visualize an integrated organization’s system, nearly half don’t know what to do to make that happen.

The world of healthcare operations becomes more vast and complex as hospitals and health systems merge, affiliate, partner and form joint ventures. According to The Advisory Board, there are ways that companies like ours—which partner with health systems—can help these growing organizations achieve systemness:

  1. Help our healthcare organization/system customers recognize the importance of systemness to their long-term strategic, financial, and community health goals.
  2. Work within (instead of around) their bumpy transitions toward more centralized decision-making and more standardized care delivery.
  3. Uncover hidden cost savings and enhance real-time information access.
  4. Share relevant experiences with other customers who have improved provider-supplier transparency and collaborated creatively with us.

As health systems grow larger and more diverse, there is greater capacity to utilize scale for better, more efficient supply and inventory management. Figuring out further ways that transportation can be an even more vital piece of systemness is something that we care a great deal about at MedSpeed and work with health systems every day to address. We are thrilled to be a part of this movement towards systemness and look forward to our continued work with others to achieve these goals.

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