Embracing Change for Health Care Transformation
With thousands flocking to Chicago for the annual ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership, many were interested in learning more about the strategic initiatives, aimed at delivering ‘high value’ healthcare, manifesting here, there…suddenly everywhere. Speaking to the increased recognition and velocity for change, Sabrina Rodak highlights six key themes that were no doubt ubiquitous at this moment of metamorphosis for healthcare, and more to the point, the hospital industry.
Building on a recent article in Health Affairs, “Decline In Utilization Rates Signals A Change In The Inpatient Business Model”, Rodak notes that keeping patients healthy through preventive and primary care services, and out of acute care facilities whenever possible via population health management is the new mandate. By focusing on care delivery in the right place at the right time with the right quality, cost, and access, leaders in this new era will transform the health of the system, as well as the nation.
In order to succeed, six fundamental requirements have been defined:
1. Culture. Hospital leaders need to focus on delivering value rather than only acute-care services. Proponents believe that happy, engaged providers and employees have a more positive impact on patient experience, versus those that do not.
2. Physicians and care delivery. Hospitals will need a strong physician platform to reduce utilization and cost and improve value. In concert with local, affiliated physicians and allied health providers, hospitals and health systems are moving closer to this goal through a variety of care coordination innovations.
3. Communication and HIT. Hospitals need to develop health IT systems to communicate with providers across the care continuum and analyze data to increase value. And with the onset of stage 2 meaningful use, having the tools to define and eradicate potential conflict between patient expectations and evidence-based medicine becomes tantamount.
4. Facilities. Hospital leaders should consider investing in outpatient settings instead of building costly hospital facilities.
5. Contracts. Hospital leaders need to encourage payors to participate in value-based initiatives to support providers who are delivering value. Nimble, forward thinking organizations are exploring a variety of collaborative measures in order to jointly address care delivery innovation.
6. Transformation. Hospitals need to start preparing for a value-based care model now by eliminating clinical variation, reorganizing services and reducing costs. Checking out the ACHE Congress Management Innovations and Circle of Life winners gives you a small sample of the transformations en route and poised to come.
While measured steps are being taken for positive outcomes, critics of the Health Affairs article argue that this is meaningless activity for those lacking health insurance, mired in sub-optimal social health circumstances and facing a dangerous precipice with potential changes in Medicaid funding. Right, wrong or indifferent, there is one consistent theme – the time is ripe for change. And as the outgoing ACHE Chairman, Gayle Capozzalo, points out – we, as healthcare leaders, are no strangers to change.
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