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CEO: Hospitals Should be 'Like the Maytag Repair Man'

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, January 11, 2013

As the collaboration begins to develop in 2013, electronic-assisted connections with the insurer will provide "almost real-time feedback" that NCH's physician medical director will be sharing with physicians.

For example, it turns out that NCH physicians had been ordering quite a bit of thyroid testing, particularly with patients who had already been admitted.

"You can't check them then because it's a bad time to measure," says Weiss.

So the system, based partially on data from the insurer, developed a new educational piece on how best perform thyroid testing.

"It's easy to do and makes sense so we don't do unnecessary tests," he says.

For another example, radiology is the single biggest cost outside the hospital and evidence shows that one third of them should not be done, says Weiss.

"For every 250 X-Rays performed, somebody gets cancer," he says. "These initiatives just encourage physicians to think of appropriateness," which many have never been trained to do.

Egos, he says, took a backseat in the work.

"We were past deciding who were the leaders and followers in this business relationship," he says. Instead, it was a question of exploring how we can use both of our resources together. They're expert at handling claims; they knew more about us via claims than sometimes we do. We know about quality. Together we filled in the blanks."

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3 comments on "CEO: Hospitals Should be 'Like the Maytag Repair Man'"


Jimmy St louis (1/25/2013 at 1:05 PM)
Great article! A more efficient system, although a longer path is certainly a preventative care model, accompanied by a model for ongoing patient health maintenance. We have written about this article in our blog at blogs.ahcps.com. In alignment with your article, it is our belief that an emphasis on creating a stronger knowledge base for our patients, accompanied by more control over their health is a key tool in lowering healthcare costs and creating a healthier "you". This adoption both by the consumer and provider will be key in the successful implementation.

David Massey (1/14/2013 at 5:52 PM)
While this deals with one of the root causes behind exploding healthcare costs there are other areas where improvement in skill sets can lead to significant and, in many cases, immediate reductions in cost of doing business. Specifically, people in charge of managing direct and indirect spend. I have discovered a significant lack of skill sets as evidenced through how supply chain/materials management personnel conduct their procurement; manage strategic acquisitions; lack of well-crafted policies and procedures; absence of formal personnel training programs and so on. Frankly, compared to other industries, such as Aerospace, healthcare supply chains and the quality of its materials management personnel is woeful.

Janice Miller (1/12/2013 at 1:55 PM)
I enjoyed this article and believe its way past time for this change to begin. I am a firm believer in LEAN programs and witnessed more waste of funds due to lack of knowledge and reliance on people who have held the same administrative positions for 30 years or more. Fresh insight from those who have been on the front line of the healthcare battle have been ignored. Here's an example, a hospital in Weirton, West Virginia takes nasal cultures from every patient admitted, every time they move to another room, and when the patient is released. This is just to check for MRSA. It stemmed from one patient threatening a lawsuit because they claimed they caught MRSA at the hospital. Those on the front line explain the waste and increased cost but it falls on deaf ears. I suggest hospitals ask personnel for suggestions and actually listen.