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The Hospital of the Future

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, July 13, 2011
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There’s no doubt that a decade from now healthcare will look a lot different than it does today. There will be new business models, new government regulations, new reimbursement schemes, and an explosion of data and new technologies to manage. The trick is not just to develop general strategies and tactics to prepare for that future, but to determine which ones are the best fit for your organization, and then take decisive action.

Healthcare reform, changes to reimbursement, accountable care organizations, medical homes, and other collaborative care models are particularly challenging to forecast. The key is for leaders to strive toward achieving the goals behind the regulations because they are the right thing to do for their organization’s future, rather than what may or may not come of government initiatives.

Florida-based Adventist Health System has dozens of acute care hospitals in multiple states, but it also owns nursing homes, physician practices, home health agencies, and urgent care clinics. And it plans to take advantage of those holdings to put itself at the center of its patients’ healthcare universe.

“We’re missing maybe a few things,” says Tim Reiner, the system’s vice president of revenue management. “We’ve got different markets in our company, so I think some of those dynamics will drive what we do with ACOs. But I think once it’s clear what that looks like, we’ll [participate].”

With a network of 25 hospitals in metropolitan and rural communities and more than 140 physician clinics, Iowa Health System also is well-poised to pursue the ACO model. But unlike Adventist, it doesn’t intend to expand into numerous business lines. Rather, it will take a simpler approach. “We really believe that you don’t have to have all the pieces as part of your integrated delivery system to be able to coordinate care … So long-term care is not a core competency we currently have, but we are looking to collaborate with those providers,” says Bill Leaver, president and CEO.

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