Healthcare Leaders Look to Manage Costs and Reduce Variation

Our healthcare industry finds itself in a period of uncertainty. No one knows what the future of payment/insurance reform will be. Regardless of where things land, a new survey of health system leaders conducted by Premier Inc. found that managing costs is their top priority.

Coverage of the survey in Healthcare Finance noted that C-suite executives are focused on improving productivity and reducing supply chain inefficiencies, pharmaceutical costs and clinical variation.

Another priority in the C-suite, according to the survey, is moving from meaningful use to meaningful insight. Systems are looking beyond recording data and are increasingly integrating and combining data to streamline analytics on supply chain, financial and clinical care.

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Transforming Today’s Healthcare Supply Chain

Recently, I read a blog post in Healthcare Finance News that focused on the transformation of the healthcare supply chain.  The authors discussed how different healthcare organizations were utilizing a number of technologies to enhance the effectiveness of their supply chain.

A clear focus on the value chain can deliver a significant return on investment. The authors point out that too often, hospitals utilize their own “homegrown” tools such as Excel spreadsheets, which can compartmentalize data and make it difficult, or nearly impossible to forecast or predict changes in supply chain demand.

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Data and the healthcare supply chain

It’s very likely that the healthcare trends we’ve seen over the past couple years – provider and supplier consolidation, reduced reimbursement levels, patient care moving outside the hospital walls and the implementation of and integration of electronic health records (EHRs) – will continue.

As Bruce Johnson wrote last month, “at the core of these trends is a need for quality data so that leaders can make informed, quality decisions.” Mr. Johnson makes a point, I’ve written about before: we are not talking about data for the sake of data. Instead, this is about data that is usefully synthesized to improve the healthcare experience.

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In This Era of Big Data, Avoid Being Data Rich and Information Poor

We live in the era of “big data.” It’s a term we come across on a nearly daily basis. The biggest problem with big data—pardon the play on words—is that data alone without insight can leave you information poor.

Recently, at Becker’s Hospital Review 5th Annual Meeting, one of the keynote speakers, Toby Cosgrove, MD, president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, touched on how his organization was dealing with big data through its spin-off Explorys, which ties together disparate healthcare data from providers, payers, care settings and EMRs. The goal of Explorys is to help the Cleveland Clinic and other healthcare organizations manage and make sense of big data: because data is only data, unless you know how to utilize it to make improvements.

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