The current economic downturn has not spared hospital organizations. With capital markets inaccessible to many hospitals, the financing for major investments and physical plant expansion is suddenly unavailable. Additionally, income from hospital endowments, which is often dependent on equity investments, has been dramatically reduced. All of this has occurred within a very short timeframe, giving hospitals little time to react and prepare for this economic downturn; the end of which is not clearly in sight. In some markets, demand for elective surgery is down as much as 30% as patients either postpone surgical decisions based on a lack of insurance coverage or fear that a medical leave will jeopardize their current employment.
When most people think of sports medicine, they picture team athletes getting their knees iced on the field, undergoing sophisticated surgery to repair injured tendons and cartilage, or undertaking grueling rehab routines to get themselves back in the game.
But the more typical sports medicine patient is the weekend warrior who's overdone his running routine or thrown a pitch to his kid with a little too much enthusiasm. Knee and shoulder injuries represent 40% of outpatient surgery volume nationally, and almost half of those patients are between the ages of 18 and 44. Clearly, a sports medicine program focused solely on team athletes won't reach most of them.
As plans advanced to automate the Clinical Laboratories, Brigham and Women's Hospital faced growing specimen volumes in constrained space amid concerns about technician retention and recruitment.
The hospital staff worked with the Performance Solutions consulting group of GE Healthcare and the hospitals' Center for Clinical Excellence as a part of a Lean Skills Transfer engagement to assess laboratory performance and design process improvements at all key steps in the value stream, from the time the patient arrives to provide a specimen until the lab report is complete.
Joint replacement programs create a considerable advantage for hospitals, especially those that develop centers of excellence and organize their joint business within the musculoskeletal service line. According to research by Accelero Health Partners, total joint replacements represented approximately 31% of U.S. inpatient musculoskeletal cases in 2007 and 34% of total inpatient musculoskeletal contribution margin. With hospitals often competing for patients and specialists in this profit center, it is important to offer competitive advantages. One way to do this is by attaining The Joint Commission's gold seal of approval: Disease Specific Care Certification.
Financial hardship has touched the healthcare industry, along with the rest of the U.S. economy. According to a report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), more than half of hospitals surveyed reported negative total margins between June and December 2008. Facilities with more than 500 beds were the hardest hit; 80 percent had negative total margins attributed to declines in patient revenue, among other financial pressures.
In today's tumultuous economy, hospital administrators are not alone in asking their leadership teams: "How are we going to differentiate ourselves in a very competitive market?" Some of the answers may lie in a hospital?s service line strategy and asking: Do we effectively manage our service line as a business? Do we leverage our competitive advantages with our customers?
Abington Memorial Hospital (AMH) is a 570-bed nonprofit regional teaching hospital serving three major counties in suburban Philadelphia. AMH has more than 35,500 annual inpatient admissions and is a Level 2 trauma center with more than 90,000 annual emergency room visits. In 2007, AMH leaders embarked on a plan to enhance their hospital?s Pilla Heart Center and partnered with Accelero Health Partners, an organization that specializes in service line management. Accelero works with partnering hospitals to aggregate cardiovascular services into a single service line and four manageable product lines: prevention, early detection/advanced diagnostics, disease management, and surgical/invasive interventions.