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How Do Hospital CEOs Feel About the Healthcare Economy?

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, July 16, 2010

We're a little more than halfway through the year, and we're at the end of the fiscal year, and the economy fiddles while the Gulf leaks oil. But it's a good time to take stock. In that theme, what should land on my desk (really, my email account) on Wednesday morning, but a survey from the Conference Board, which says the majority of CEOs expect to increase their companies' profits in the next year.

The confidence measure, for what it's worth, remained at 62 in the second calendar quarter of the year (a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses). This level of optimism suggests CEOs think their business prospects will improve in the short term.

Of course, this is a broad swath of CEOs we're talking about. I wonder if the same level of confidence would be found in the hospital sector? Somehow, with the uncertainty of healthcare reform regulations looming on the horizon, I doubt it.

However, it's always possible. In addition to it being halfway through the calendar year, we're about halfway through the year on the 2010 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey, which we publish each February. We won't get new survey results specifically for hospital CEOs for another six months or so. But that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun guessing what the prevailing attitudes are right now, right?

February 2010: Only 17% rated their organization's IT infrastructure as "very strong." That's troubling, especially considering the load that IT systems will have to carry in the future to better coordinate care and improve quality under certain aspects of the healthcare reform legislation.

February 2011: I'd predict that will improve for 2010, but probably not as drastically as it should. That's a negative for CEOs' economic outlook right now.

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