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.





ISO and Taking Better Care of Patients

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, an independent organization with a membership of 163 national standards bodies that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. ISO-certification is something we pursued as an organization because of the value it brings to us and our clients. It means we meet quality and reliability standards that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors AND increase productivity.

Recently, Sentara Healthcare—a 12-hospital system, based in Virginia and North Carolina—adopted quality-management principles across its system that are based on a specific standard ISO 9001—continual improvement. Hospitals & Health Networks notes that the system is one of the first to take a system-focused approach using the non-healthcare-originated ISO 9001 standards.

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Productivity + Risk Management = Success

“Many of the major shifts (in healthcare) over the past decade can be characterized as focusing on bulking up pieces of the healthcare puzzle and on squeezing out inefficiency, but in the coming decade we can expect the shifts to be more systemic—rearranging pieces, adding new players, and changing the very definitions of efficiency and quality,” writes Ron Adner, Ph.D., Professor of Strategy at Dartmouth College.

Efficiency, productivity and quality define success not just in healthcare, but across industries.

In fact, a recent working paper from the Congressional Budget Office found that the magnitude of the financial impact U.S. hospitals will face in the future depends on how much they can improve their productivity over time. The CBO paper concluded that if hospitals are unable to increase their productivity or otherwise reduce cost growth, the share of hospitals with negative profit margins will rise to 60% and their average profit margin will fall to -0.2%.

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Hospitals Up the Ante with Hospitality-Style Customer Service

Customer service—long a leading indicator of success in the hospitality industry—is becoming increasingly important in healthcare, and with good reason. Competition for patient loyalty is serious business.

Increased referrals to family and friends can lead to more utilization of hospital services, and inherent in those word of mouth referrals are brand and reputation building opportunities for hospitals and health systems.

In fact, a Deloitte report found that hospitals with “excellent” ratings on CMS’ Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient satisfaction survey had a net profit margin of 4.7%, on average, compared with just 1.8% for hospitals with “low” ratings during the period from 2008-2014. Those “likes” can really add up.

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MedSpeed on the Inc. 5000

We just learned that MedSpeed made Inc. Magazine’s 2016 list of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies, the qualification for which is based on revenue growth percentage over a three-year period.

In part, this has a lot to do with timing. Healthcare is moving from acute-care focused to non-acute care focused. Health systems are getting bigger with more points of care along the entirety of the care continuum. These larger systems are working very hard to capture the benefits of scale through greater systemness. This all points to an expanded need for – and available value creation from – intra-company logistics, the category that MedSpeed – and all of our team members – has made its life’s work.

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The “Always-On” Supply Chain

The “2016 MHI Annual Industry Report,” developed in collaboration with Deloitte, looks at the key changes in supply chain. This year’s report covers a number of disruptive technologies affecting the supply chain and reflects the views of almost 900 supply chain leaders. 

The key focus of the report is the concept of the “always-on” supply chain, which is described as “an integrated set of supply networks characterized by a continuous, high-velocity flow of information and analytics, creating predictive, actionable decisions that better serve the customer.” The report points out that the always-on supply chain has the potential to deliver significant economic and environmental rewards, which should encourage further innovation.

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What Payment Model Should Replace Fee for Service?

We all know that the United States is in the process of radically changing how it pays for healthcare. And that’s because nearly all experts agree that the prevailing current payment method—fee for service—fuels waste, and does nothing to promote high-quality care.

In an effort to drive quality and reduce waste, there have been ongoing efforts by both the federal government and private insurers to reform payments, which have produced some success along the way.

What is the best approach to replace fee for service? The Harvard Business Review recently asked that question and presented the two leading economic models that are contending to replace fee for service.

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Supply Chain: Essential to Improve Patient Outcomes

Clinical improvements—the key to making patient interactions widely successful—“requires getting the right products, services and capabilities into the hands of clinicians and the supply chain is essential in driving scalable, sustainable improvements in the health care system,” said a recent article in H&HN.

Recognizing the supply chain’s importance in overall success as an organization can lead to widespread benefits within healthcare. When organizations are looking for ways to make clinical improvements, it makes sense to involve supply chain early in the process because it “can expedite the adoption of meaningful medical advancements for better patient care.”

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Find Good Partners and Innovate if You Want to Stay on Top

Resting on your laurels isn’t the way to stay on top of your game, according to three leading healthcare CEOs who spoke at a recent Not-for-Profit Health Care Investor Conference. They’ve lead their organizations to success by keeping their eyes peeled for new and better ways to do things. This topic really appeals to me.

These CEOs seek ideas from both traditional competitors and from other industries. Rodney Hochman, M.D, CEO of Providence Health & Services advises healthcare leaders to “shamelessly steal” good ideas from other industries and Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health urges hospitals to share their own innovations with other businesses that might benefit.

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Never Under-Estimate the Value of Proactivity

I was very gratified to participate in the Becker’s Hospital Review 7th Annual Meeting. I had the opportunity to introduce a keynote panel, whose topic was “Key Strategies and Trends,” and I also participated in a panel that explored “The Biggest Issues and Opportunities for Healthcare.”

I came away from the conference invigorated by the new ideas we all shared. When I got back to the office after the meeting, there was a letter from Scott Becker that reiterated what I would consider the one main point to highlight: That a real differentiator between surviving and success is proactivity.

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No Small Thing – The Growth of the HealthCare System

Mergers and acquisitions are all over the healthcare news, and have been for a while now. As described in a recent article in Modern Healthcare, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are coming together to form “sometimes behemoth” systems with the ultimate goal to achieve scale to create operational efficiencies.

The article gives examples of failures and successes and highlights many of the challenges that come with rapid growth. Overall, Modern Healthcare concluded that “hospital system executives continue to pursue size and scale through mergers despite the evidence from some recent deals that problems undiscovered during due diligence—or from culture clashes—may make the marriage hard to consummate.”

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