3 Actions That Could Save Community Hospitals
2. Establish a physician council, or something similar, to ensure that you and the docs agree on how to work together.
Ironically, integrating the financial and clinical information systems, which is extraordinarily difficult might be the easy part here. What's more challenging is the change in process and patient care that are necessary parts to effective clinical integration. At RWJ-Hamilton as well as other community hospitals, says Cimino, "we'll have to deal with a far more competitive environment," he says. That requires treating physicians as strategic partners. Cimino established a physician council to help further that strategic partnership. "This is really different from the medical executive committee in that it's about strategic relationships and ensuring that we are dealing with and resolving those in partnership with physicians."
3. Build a focused outpatient growth strategy:
The growth is not in inpatient. If you don't have strong outpatient facilities, you don't have much hope. RWJ-Hamilton created a center for health and wellness years ago, for example. But what might have been seen as a white elephant back then is now a key strategy in diversifying revenue streams and for patient engagement, says Cimino. "This is 88,000 square feet of medically based fitness," he says. It also houses our community education program where we touch more than 150,000 lives."
This is by no means a complete list. If you ignore all this opportunity for innovation, perhaps you still rest comfortably, believing you can make up all your disadvantages with a family feel and a local vibe. The decision on strategy is up to you, but that didn't get the neighborhood hardware store very far.
Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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