Healthcare Innovation

You Get What You Pay For – There is More to Cost Than Price

Financial viability is the order of the day for hospitals and health systems. However, when looking for savings, a service or item that is the cheapest is not necessarily the lowest cost.

A recent HealthLeaders’ article, “Find Deeper Healthcare Supply Chain Savings,” which I referenced last week, looked at what a number of systems are doing in order to reduce costs in their supply chain. Main Line Health (MLH), a 1,295-bed health system with $1.4 billion in annual operating revenue was featured in the article because it has undergone an organization-wide initiative to reduce supply chain spending.

Read More

When the Low Hanging Fruit Has Been Picked, What’s Next? Value!

New reimbursement models have forced hospitals and health systems to go after all of the low hanging expenses they can. But cost-cutting alone—stuff and staff—will not produce the total savings needed. A recent article in HealthLeaders points out that successful healthcare organizations are taking a much closer look at their supply chain in order to create strategic savings opportunities.

In the article, Steve Cashton, director of purchasing and contracting at Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, says, “You really can’t cut your way to success by reducing staff so we started looking at where we can improve our margins with the supply chain.”

Read More

Create New Organizational Structure to Successfully Reduce Costs

Annual cost reduction targets have most healthcare organizations scrambling. Despite concerted efforts, many internal cost reduction initiatives “fail to produce the level of savings required” as Liz Kirk writes in Healthcare Finance News.

Why is that? Many factors can contribute to the success or failure of an organization to achieve savings’ goals, but the most common mistake is not taking a holistic approach. Ms. Kirk contends that rather than a conventional cost reduction approach lead by the CFO, a successful initiative should include the financial and operational senior leaders, as well as support teams and cost leaders. The key is to effectively balance quality and patient satisfaction with savings.

Read More

Stretching Outside of the Four Hospital Walls

Not long ago, adding more patient beds was the principle capital expenditure for many health systems and hospitals. But in today’s environment of value-based care, that has changed.

Healthcare leaders are shifting their capital strategies. According to “Reevaluating capital spending strategies”, from Healthcare Finance News, “As healthcare reimbursement shifts from a system that rewards quantity of care to quality of care, the onus is on the CFO to determine where best to allocate financial resources.”

Now, in order to provide care outside of traditional settings, systems focus on outpatient care and deploy capital to acquire physician practices that grow their reach.  Systems are also more prudent about equipment purchases and work to share equipment between facilities.

Read More

Integration: Early in the game of healthcare reform

At the recent annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco—“where Wall Street meets healthcare to talk business,” according to HealthLeaders the themes ranged from preparing for the newly insured to continuing the expansion of clinically integrated networks. The conference included both for-profit and not-for-profit health systems discussing what had helped make them successful in this early stage of healthcare reform.

Clinical integration is a hot topic for any healthcare system, regardless of profit status in this early stage of healthcare reform. And that’s because success is dependent on it. As Chicago-based Advocate Health Care executive vice president Lee B. Sacks MD noted at the conference, “Clinical integration has allowed us to advance in value-based care.”

Read More

“Skate to Where the Puck Will Be” to Improve Healthcare System Integration

MedSpeed recently published a report on the roundtable we facilitated at the 2013 Fall IDN Summit in Phoenix, AZ, the fourth in a series of symposiums we’ve conducted with healthcare supply chain leaders. We learned that most IDNs are engaged in—and some are much further along—the process of trying to figure out how to really act as integrated systems.

We discussed the strategic role that the supply chain plays in system integration, and the tangible benefits that transportation can provide for improved integration across a system. The conclusion was that an effective, reliable, centralized healthcare transportation network can help expanding systems stay physically connected.

Read More

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.

Read More

ROI: Look Beyond Financial to the Intangible Benefits

I was very heartened by a conclusion drawn at the recent HealthLeaders’ CFO Exchange. Apparently, these healthcare CFOs together reached the conclusion that ROI is more than financial.

A report from that roundtable specifically discussed the implementation and costs associated with Electronic Health Records (EHR). One of the CFOs said, “It’s hard or nearly impossible to justify the investment needed for a state-of-the-art EHR with hard-dollar savings.” He went on to point out that to really look at the return on investment: “You have to look beyond that to the intangible benefits, the improvements in delivery of care and positioning your organization to be competitive in the future.”

Read More

Practicing Sustainability, Not Just Preaching It

Back in the winter, I wrote about the benefits of sustainability in healthcare. The study I cited, sponsored by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) showed that sustainability initiatives could save the healthcare industry billions over several years. At that time I noted that we were going to look for more ways to continue our own sustainability efforts.

I’m very pleased to announce that MedSpeed has joined Practice Green Health, an organization that supports “environmental solutions for the healthcare sector and lends support to create better, safer, greener workplaces and communities.” This nonprofit membership organization was founded on the principles of positive environmental stewardship to support best practices by organizations in the healthcare community.

Read More

Fear Stymies Innovation…BUT it shouldn’t

Things move forward at a rapid pace because of innovation and we’ve been hearing for quite a while now about the need for greater innovation in healthcare. Innovation in healthcare has been challenging due to many factors, including the fast pace of change and a general fear of failure.

Last week in Becker’s Hospital Review I read a post discussing healthcare’s fear of failure and how that stymies innovation. The article’s author interviewed Louis Burns, CEO at Intel-GE Care Innovations, who discussed the importance of being a disrupter in your own industry, if change is indeed going to happen. To overcome this innovation stagnation in healthcare, Mr. Burns says that healthcare leaders need to take big risks and reimagine the healthcare delivery system.

Read More