The end of the year is a time for reflection, as well as anticipation for what the upcoming year will bring. One constant theme we saw in the news in 2018 was hospitals’ ongoing challenge to strengthen margins in an era characterized by a shift to value-based care and the associated uncertainty regarding reimbursements. We also saw an evolution towards multi points of care for patients beyond the acute setting as well as an increase in non-traditional competitors such as Amazon and CVS, continued industry merger and acquisition activity.
Here are some of the trending topics we’ve seen over the past month:
Huddle Up for Greater Operational Efficiency
Daily huddles at every level of staff that form a chain of escalation and information yield big operational gains in safety, quality and efficiency — but there must be a focus on trends, tracking of issues, accountability and overall goals. Intermountain Healthcare’s CEO Marc Harrison shared some of his organization’s successes through daily huddles in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review. Harrison explains the escalation process, which includes daily huddles with all levels of staff, has provided improved clarity around operations, including discovering opportunities for staffing procedure improvements and reducing interruption of services.
Source: Harvard Business Review
Nonprofit Hospitals Continue to Struggle, Must Focus on Operations
According to Fitch Ratings 2019 not-for-profit hospital and health systems outlook report, nonprofit hospitals will continue struggling to adapt to the paradigm shift in the broader health care sector into next year. The negative sector outlook for nonprofit hospitals is due largely to ongoing operational weaknesses, which have evolved from an ongoing trend into a real fundamental shift in the sector. Additionally, for the second year in a row, expenses have surpassed revenues for both nonprofit and public hospitals, creating instability and further pressuring hospital margins.
Source: Healthcare Finance
Modern Healthcare Shares Top 2018 Trends
Finally, Modern Healthcare shares its 2018 Healthcare Year in Review, which looks back at some of the year’s major events across eight major healthcare areas: operations, finance, insurance, Medicaid, policy, public health, technology, and quality and safety. Among its observations, the story highlights plummeting hospital operating margins in 2018, even as balance sheets remain stronger than ever. The article also spotlights the series of unconventional partnerships and unexpected entrants that will shape the healthcare industry well beyond 2018.
Source: Modern Healthcare
In short, hospitals are navigating a time of unprecedented change, which makes the revenue re-capture opportunities made possible through more efficient and streamlined hospital operations more critical than ever.
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