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Hospital Execs, Get Strategic About Capital Expenditures

Jack Hobbs, for HealthLeaders Media, November 29, 2010

Every large project presents a variety of challenges. Yet if the strategy for meeting them is simply dealing with the “item of the day” then these individual challenges will aggregate into a large and costly problem. When strategic decisions are made without the help of financial modeling, a review of the long-term objectives of an institution and a consideration of the overarching effects a decision has on parallel activities. Then healthcare administrators may actually find themselves reacting too quickly to a perceived need or competitor’s capital project without having all the actual facts.

When this happens, projects start busting budgets and blowing deadlines. Then financial leaders need to really start thinking about the patient, because ultimately those added costs for the capital projects will trickle down to them.

Healthcare administrators are rightly focused on achieving the mission for patient care. They are always asking the questions: Are we improving the patient experience? Are we enhancing the delivery of care? It is with this goal in mind that the most successful healthcare projects integrate that singular focus and passion with the work of an effective, professional project manager.

PMs have their own series of questions that guide the process:

  • Is the project consistent with community expectations?
  • Does it enhance the institution as a community asset?
  • Does it strengthen the institution’s future and contribute to economic sustainability?
  • Are we controlling costs and delivering value over time?
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