Healthcare transportation research

Healthcare System Physical Integration Survey: Is Your System Poised for Success?

MedSpeed recently sponsored a survey of 20 healthcare executives from large systems across the country. Jamie Kowalski, a leading supply chain consultant, conducted the survey, which focused on the physical integration of expanding health systems and how those physical points of connection could be leveraged to deliver more integrated care. It also addressed how systems assess healthcare transportation.

I want to thank those who took the time to complete the survey and provide such valuable information. Historically transportation has been an ‘under-the-radar’ operation for health systems since their focus is the direct delivery of clinical care.

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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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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.”

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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.

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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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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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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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