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6 Hospital Tips to Survive Healthcare Reform

Wes Champion, for HealthLeaders Media, January 21, 2011

·        Resource optimization – The approach to supply chain improvement needs to extend well beyond price points; it should identify opportunities to change practice and purchasing patterns to simultaneously improve outcomes and reduce costs. This can be achieved through optimizing resources by way of resource utilization, standardization and aggregation strategies. Providers need to integrate both supply chain and clinical improvement data to produce actionable information around quality and cost improvement opportunities.Examining supply spend data, benchmarking departmental supply use and scrutinizing patient level resource use by physician are key strategies.

3. Revenue enhancement:
Given reform's adverse impact on revenues, special attention must be placed on having the organizational processes and systems in place to capture revenue. This means revenue cycle process improvements for pre-registration, registration, financial counseling, medical records and accounts receivable departments. Also, enhancements in reimbursement such as Medicare and Medicaid cost reporting, managed care contracting and coding will need extra focus.

4. Physician alignment:
Strategically, each of these areas are impossible to address without physician alignment. Many doctors feel squeezed by today's payment system, which features the pressure to see more patients and the burden presented by administrative requirements. Utilizing numerous available tools, hospitals must align physician's incentives in order to find and sustain cost savings and improve quality. Employment is only one of those tools. Others include co-management of service lines, clinically integrated physician-hospital organizations, and hospital affiliated physician groups. Because of the shifting reimbursement mechanisms, accountability for the quality and cost of patient care will widen. Successful hospitals will find ways to engage physicians in recognition of the impact of quality not only on safety and cost, but on reimbursement as well. Taken to its extreme, hospitals will have to share responsibility for designing, governing and managing health systems.

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