The healthcare industry is experiencing frustration and worry among its stakeholders. Regulatory mandates for hospitals, physician practices, and other entities are causing challenges to the system, as these mandates are linked to reimbursement for said stakeholders. The targets of regulations include but are not limited to, quality of care, the patient experience, safety issues, care coordination, communication, discharge planning, unnecessary admissions, and end-of-life support.
Federal and state governments, commercial insurance companies, accreditation bodies, and quality improvement organizations have set standards that healthcare providers need to meet to receive monetary incentives and favorable public ratings that can allow them to increase their profiles and images to consumers and buyers of healthcare services. When they fall short, penalties occur. As a result, healthcare leaders are working furiously to educate and empower their teams to be conscious of both how their departments are run and how outcomes are achieved.
Are these mandates working? Is healthcare more transparent? Are costs being contained? Are consumers satisfied with their care and with their healthcare providers? Is the country healthier? It’s hard to say. In a recent article, Patrick Conway, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s chief medical officer, said, “These programs are driving what we want in health care.” Most hospitals have improved since the programs began. However, even some hospitals that have gotten better are still losing money because they are not scoring as well as others. As a result, there is a renewed effort from organizations to ensure that they have people in place with the expertise to build better systems for analyzing performance and delivering better services to achieve better outcomes. Large and small organizations cannot afford to miss signs that impact their scores, as this impacts their reimbursements.
Organizations showing positive outcomes have two things in common–first, they recognize the need to keep the patient and caregiver at the center of the healthcare team. Second, they understand the importance of self-reflection and evaluation. They are taking the time to assess their core purpose and make sure their strategies and organizational culture sync up with their mission.
Hospital leaders, physicians, and other healthcare entities wanting to stay relevant (and in business) must understand patients better. These patients are their customers and the proprietors of their own health and health care. As a result, there is a renewed effort to keep the consumer involved in cost, quality, and access matters.
In addition, healthcare leaders are taking the time to reexamine their purpose and ensure that the strategies they put in place meet patients’ needs. I would encourage you to take time this week to examine your organization’s and your professional purpose. Are you working in line with what is important? At your next staff meeting, ask your colleagues if you, as a team, are meeting your mission through the services you provide and the work you are doing. Are you satisfied with the work you are doing? If not, what do you need to do to improve? Reflection allows you to be part of the solution and not continue the status quo.
In continuing to improve the patient experience, next week, I will highlight some of the innovative programs organizations are implementing to ensure they are utilizing patients to strengthen the healthcare system. If you have a best practice you would to share, please email me at [email protected]
Please share your thoughts and insights on how you see our healthcare system functioning. Are you happy with it? Is it worth the dollars being spent? If not, what are you doing to address shortfalls?
To assist you in your reflections, I have shared articles addressing value-based purchasing and how these strategies work to improve our healthcare system. I embedded the links into the titles so you can click on the title and read the articles.
Have a good week!