The challenges heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic will prompt executives to look for ways to use technology to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs.
This article is a Chief Executive Officer series
Healthcare organizations face ongoing financial pressures that have intensified over the past two years as the COVID-19 pandemic has placed unusual demands and strains on the nation’s delivery system.
The depth of the challenges facing suppliers continues to emerge. For example, the median operating margin for hospitals and health systems fell 11.8% month-on-month and 26.7% year-over-year in February, According to an article by the American Hospital Association on the Kaufman Hall Report.
The Kauffman Hall report noted that hospitals were operating “well below sustainable levels”. “Recovery from the Omicron surge will likely continue to be slow in the coming months, and hospitals may face more setbacks if other variants… lead to new surges.”
Financial pressures are affecting suppliers’ ability to meet other challenges, including rising staffing and supply costs, which directly impact suppliers’ ability to deliver on their core mission.
Identifying and managing financial challenges will require a combination of technology, management and leadership that will test CEOs, Health Data Management asked leaders of healthcare information technology and services organizations to assess new challenges facing vendors and the industry.
The companies focused on in the interviews are the top performers in the healthcare sector as recognized by the annual Best of KLAS accreditation program, which is chosen by consulting firms for their client’s recognition of their responsiveness to clients, product quality, and industry knowledge. These Companies appear in a new set of insights from Health Data Management, surpassing rankings to offer a range of products and services, including electronic health records, enterprise resource planning, artificial intelligence, consulting services, and more.
The perspectives of these company leaders illustrate how technology can support providers’ evolving healthcare offerings and the key challenges that provider organization CEOs must address.
Staffing shortages—often addressed through the use of signing bonuses or expensive respite care—are just one of the cost burdens healthcare providers are now bearing. Providers have also seen significant shifts in patient numbers during the pandemic, with inpatient elective surgeries being canceled for months. They face higher labor costs associated with the staffing demands of the pandemic.
“We have to reduce unit and unit costs.”
Bruce Haupt, ClearBalance President and CEO
Suppliers need to take a variety of measures to deal with financial pressures and increase the efficiency of their organizations. This means improving patient care through initiatives such as population health and usage analytics, as well as increasing efficiencies across the organization.
“We have to reduce unit and unit costs,” advises ClearBalance President and CEO Bruce Haupt. Increased efficiency and cost savings are critical as consumers can now choose from a variety of care options, including products from corporate giants Amazon and Walmart.
“A business model like Amazon or Walmart can provide many services at very low cost,” Haupt suggested. This will increase the pressure on suppliers to improve efficiency.
“That’s probably the most important thing … trying to figure out, ‘How can I do my surgery and provide the right care — no wasted care — and do it at the lowest cost and create it the easiest way to get it’ ?’ That’s the holy grail they have to work towards.”
ClearBalance’s Bruce Haupt on Reducing Waste (Cost) in Healthcare
Improve health equity
Even as healthcare organizations face increasing financial pressure, they face pressure from the community and from value-based contracts, with growing calls for improved health equity.
Provider organizations, especially nonprofits, are facing choppy waters, especially when executives receive high salaries and their organizations report revenue exceeding expenses as the communities they serve experience growing healthcare demands. Healthcare organizations are being asked to play a greater role in addressing the social determinants of health—non-care-delivery factors that affect community health.
A growing number of healthcare providers face calls to better empower and engage with patients.
“Many health systems are starting to see through their patients’ eyes in a better way.”
Adam Gale, CEO, KLAS Research
“Many health systems are starting to see through the patient’s eyes in a better way,” said Adam Gale, CEO of KLAS Research. Healthcare organizations “have long talked about being patient-centric and using technology through the patient’s eyes (and looking at the care process). ). But I don’t think a lot of people do that.”
Improving health equity also means providers need to ensure patients have access to their own information, said Steve Brewer, president and CEO of Galen Healthcare.
Brewer explained, “This is definitely a drive in the industry for patient access to information. It underscores the importance of patients as key members of the care team.”
Steve Brewer, CEO of Galen Healthcare Solutions, discusses the role of technology in ongoing staffing challenges with Adam Gale of KLAS Research.
Incorporating and acting on social determinants of health can help improve care and an individual’s overall health and well-being, putting patients Put it at the center of your own care. or a health record system.
Health IT company leaders say growing emphasis on value-based care and optimizing patient health will require a realignment of how providers operate – their responsibilities will shift to supporting health and wellness, not just when people are sick Take care of them.
“Are we repairing what’s broken, or are we keeping people healthy? What’s the role of healthcare? Is it providing surgery or encouraging patients to exercise and go to the gym? There’s so much scope for healthcare, says ClearBalance’s Haupt.
Answering these questions and assessing future directions for carrying out the organization’s mission will prove critical to improving healthcare delivery and the health of as many people as possible, he added.
Check out the list of articles in this CEO Leadership series