Much of the work that is to be done by hospitals and health systems in moving from being paid for output to being measured by outcomes depends on successfully modifying the strategic plan, says Bob Gift, the director of operations improvement with Chadds Ford, PA–based IMA Consulting.
“If you look at the strategic plans of many organizations, they focus on cardiac care, cancer, and orthopedics,” he says. That’s because “they’re all good in revenue, volume, and profitability.”
One big challenge for hospital and health system leadership is getting key stakeholders—physicians, nursing, and hospital administration—to recognize a common vision focused on the end result, which should be on improving quality and patient satisfaction. Without that grand vision, he says, the people who are actually doing the work are more focused on maximizing their own performance, however that’s measured, without really optimizing the entire chain.
For example, “there’s no incentive for me as a staff nurse to get a patient out of a bed more quickly because they’re just going to get another patient,” he says. “To have an impact on clinicians, who are fundamentally scientists, they need granular data to demonstrate best practices to people.”