Integration is critically important, yet many healthcare organizations aren’t prepared

We are well aware that the healthcare industry is in a time of tremendous consolidation with a greater than 50% increase in consolidation just since 2009. Since that activity is expected to continue through 2014, we wanted to get a sense for how successfully hospitals and health systems have been at integrating new facilities. To do that, MedSpeed conducted a survey in conjunction with HealthLeaders Media’s Leadership Council.

The survey polled 138 senior leaders across the healthcare spectrum, including hospitals, health systems, physician practices and payer organizations. Of those surveyed, 73% said that physically integrating materials and supplies is either “critically important” or “important” to their organization’s success in providing quality care.

But our survey found that the recognition of need did not match their current state. Only 51% of survey respondents said they had the competencies and capacities to maximize physical integration, while 26% said they did not. When the results were cross tabulated, three-fourths of leaders who had stated that “yes” they had the capacity to physically integrate materials and supplies also said it was very important to their organizations. At the same time, 81% of those who said “no” they are not able to maximize physical integration still acknowledged that it is critical to have a unified transportation plan.

When asked if their organization has the competencies and capacity to maximize its physical integration, nearly half felt they did not. Of respondents, nearly 50% responded that they either don’t have or don’t know if they have the competencies and capacity to maximize their system’s physical integration.

And, if you don’t have the capacity, or don’t know if your organization does, that means those organizations are not reaping the full benefits of being part of a larger system. Healthcare reform is forcing providers, especially large health systems, to function as integrated entities. They need to eliminate operational redundancies, centralize functions and streamline consumption of inventory. This becomes even more critical as organizations move their care operations into non-acute environments, such as physician practices, outpatient surgery centers, long-term care facilities, and make a bigger push into patient homes.

Cohesive physical integration can help bind an organization across a much wider service area, while enabling cost efficiencies. Equally important: It supports quality initiatives and helps boost employee and patient satisfaction.

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