Driving Results Blog

By Jake Crampton

The Driving Results Blog is a space for MedSpeed’s CEO, Jake Crampton, to share insights about a variety of healthcare topics. Occasionally, other members of the MedSpeed leadership team will use this space to discuss matters of particular importance to them.

 


 

 

 

What the Future Holds for Healthcare

This year, 2013, will be an incredibly busy year in healthcare. With just one more year before the largest parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) take effect, healthcare organizations are preparing for the biggest changes in healthcare in more than a generation.

Since the actual legislation is 900+ pages, I don’t know too many people who have read the entire thing. That is probably why there have been a plethora of summaries published since the act passed.

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Sustainability Can Really Pay Off

The core mandates of the Affordable Care Act are to increase access to healthcare, while decreasing costs and limiting waste. Every U.S. healthcare organization today is looking for ways to align with healthcare reform in order to meet these goals. While companies are instituting a number of different initiatives, there is one that we believe strongly in that has recently been getting more and more interest from the industry – sustainability.

According to a recent study from the Commonwealth Fund, sustainability initiatives could save the healthcare industry up to $5.4 billion over five years, and $15 billion over 10 years. Those are some really big numbers.

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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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Year in Review and Look Ahead

This week seems like a good time to reflect back on 2012 and the healthcare industry. In a year full of newsworthy events, the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act stands out as one of the most notable. The high court’s decision ended speculation and provided forward direction and greater clarity for the healthcare industry.

The impact is felt widely throughout the industry and by all healthcare executives. I recently read an article by HealthLeaders about itssecond annual CFO Exchange. For the exchange, HealthLeaders brought together 30 finance leaders from hospitals and systems nationwide for a discussion about how their organizations were “tackling some of the more demanding healthcare mandates in history while maintaining a grip on their purse strings.”

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Healthcare transportation in 2015 and beyond: What does the future hold?

The last of my blog posts discussing our roundtable at the Fall 2012 IDN Summit covers our participants’ commentary on what the future holds for them.  What became clear from our discussion with these supply chain leaders is that health systems can no longer get by with the status quo.

Everyone acknowledged that doing things the way they’ve always been done is not a recipe for success. Health systems need to pay attention to previously overlooked areas, such as healthcare transportation, to see how they can improve and simplify the supply chain and ultimately better integrate the entire organization.

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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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The big unknown about healthcare transportation: Hidden costs

This is the second of four installments stemming from the round table discussion with supply chain leaders that MedSpeed recently hosted.

After discussing how rapidly U.S. health systems are changing and the demand of managing the supply chain amidst constant growth, the discussion moved on to another challenge faced by the supply chain leaders who participated in the discussion: that they, like most organizations, do not even know where to begin to truly understand healthcare transportation costs.

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Winds of change: As health systems expand, so must transportation operations

Here is the first of four installments stemming from the round table discussion with supply chain leaders that MedSpeed recently hosted.

One of the hottest topics the group discussed is how rapidly U.S. health systems are changing. Care is moving beyond the four walls of the hospital and health systems are growing quickly through acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Hospitals and health systems will look very different tomorrow than they look today. Given that the reach of systems is much further than it was, managing the supply chain amidst constant growth creates a big obstacle.

What our supply chain leaders had to say, in their own words:

“I see a complexity that wasn’t there even a year or two ago. What used to be a very simple courier system

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What Do Healthcare Supply Chain Managers Think? Part II – Introduction to our second roundtable discussion

In the spring, we conducted a roundtable discussion with top healthcare supply chain leaders to discuss their healthcare transportation needs. We had a lively, two hour discussion that left us with a key takeaway: supply chain leaders are looking for ways to transform their healthcare transportation operations from a tactical, commodity-based service to a strategic asset that can help them better navigate the changing healthcare landscape.

With the rapid changes we are experiencing in healthcare, we decided to conduct a follow up to see if the discussion has changed. So, at the 2012 Fall IDN Summit in Phoenix, AZ, we gathered another group of top healthcare supply chain leaders and asked them to talk about their current supply chain and healthcare transportation needs and challenges. 

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Transportation Steps into the National Healthcare Spotlight

Earlier this month in Healthcare Finance News, an article called “8 kinds of waste driving healthcare costs” really caught my attention. I was pleased to see that healthcare transportation has become part of the national healthcare dialogue. Marc Hafer, author of the book Simpler Healthcare, shared his views on eight different areas that could “inhibit patient flow, add cost, increase poor quality and infection and decrease patient and clinician satisfaction.”

First on the list: “transportation.” We know from our discussions with healthcare supply chain managers that transportation is not a core competency of healthcare systems or providers. But, while many organizations outsource many other areas (laundry, food service, EMS), a large number continue to retain their own transportation operations, often with minimal technology for tracking.

But perhaps the tide is turning.

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